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Travel Medicine

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If you are traveling to another country, it is always advisable to see a health care provider at least 4-6 weeks before your international trip to plan and reduce your risk of illness during travel.

Having routine vaccinations up to date and knowing the required vaccination at your travel destination can also help in order to plan a safe and healthy trip.

Below are the lists of vaccine/medicine you may require on your travels:

ALL TRAVELLERS

Routine Vaccinations for travelling to any destination:

Measles

Measles, mumps and rubella can be prevented with MMR Vaccine. This vaccine is usually given at 1 year of age as the antibodies that are passed down from mother to child during birth makes it less effective until about 1 year of age.

MMR Vaccine Schedule (Recommendation)*not for travelling

  First Dose Second Dose
Children Age 12-15 months Age 4-6 years
Teenagers & Adults with no evidence of immunity As soon as possible N/A

MMR Vaccine Schedule for travelling

  • Infants (6 – 11 months): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This is considered as a separate dose and does not count as the first dose in the routine MMR childhood vaccine.
  • People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity / no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart.
  • People 12 months old or older who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.

Routine Vaccines

Routine vaccines are those vaccines that are recommended for everyone. These are not just the childhood vaccines you get in the months after birth; there are also the routine vaccines for adults like flu vaccines and tetanus booster shots.

What vaccines you need depends on what vaccines you have already had. For most adults who received the recommended vaccines as children, only the yearly flu vaccine and tetanus booster every 10 years are needed.

It is always best to talk to your doctor to know what’s best. If you did not receive your vaccines as a child or there is no evidence that you have had them, your doctor may recommend having the vaccination just to be safe.

MOST TRAVELLERS

Travel Vaccination required if there is a risk of these diseases at your destination:

Hepatitis A

If you are travelling to countries where Hepatitis A is common, it is recommended to have this vaccine as you can get Hepatitis A easily through contaminated food, water or objects contaminated with HAV.

This vaccination is also given as a routine vaccination between first and second birthdays (12 through 23 months of age). Older children and adolescents who did not receive this vaccination prior can get the vaccine after 23 months. Adults who have not been vaccinated previously and want to be protected against hepatitis A can also get the vaccine.

If you are travelling, this is given in 2 doses for long-lasting protection and is given at least 6 months apart. The first dose of the Hepatitis A vaccines should be given two weeks or more before travel or as soon as the travel is planned. If you are unable to get both doses of the vaccine before you travel, getting at least one dose is better and safer than travelling unvaccinated.

Typhoid

You can get typhoid through food or water that is contaminated by bacteria called Salmonella Typhi. Travellers to parts of the world where typhoid is common are recommended to have this vaccination.

One dose provides protection and it should ideally be given at least 2 weeks before travelling to allow the vaccine time to work. Booster dose is needed every 2 years for people who remain at risk of contracting this disease.

SOME TRAVELLERS

Travel Vaccination required/mandatory when travelling, this may vary depending on where you are going therefore it is advisable to ask your doctor for the vaccines/medicine required at your travel destination.

Cholera

Vaccination against Cholera is recommended for adults ages 18-64 years who are traveling to areas where cases of outbreaks have been reported within the last 12 months. This is commonly recommended in travellers who are visiting friends and relatives and those who are performing humanitarian aid works where they may have longer stays and limited access to safe food and water.

A cholera immunization consists of two oral doses given 7-14 days apart for adults and children aged 6 years and over. For children aged 2-5 years, three doses are recommended. Food intake should also be avoided 1 hour before and after vaccination. This immunization may be expected to take effect 1 week from the first intake. If the second dose is delayed for more than 6 weeks, vaccination should be restarted. The vaccine is not recommended for children under 2 years of age.

MalariaMalaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Occasionally, transmission could also occur by blood transfusion, organ transplantation, needle sharing or congenitally from mother to fetus.

Some travellers to certain areas who are at higher risk for complications from malaria (such as pregnant women) are advised to take extra precautions. Talk to your doctor about how you can minimise the risk of being infected with malaria while traveling. There is no vaccination for malaria, but anti-malarial tablets should be taken as prevention if travelling to a known malarious area. These tablets are available on prescription only and should be discussed with the doctor.

Hepatitis BHepatitis B is a serious disease that affects the liver. It spreads through blood, semen or other body fluid. You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact with an infected partner, sharing contaminated needles, syringes or other drug-injection equipment; and contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person.

The vaccine for Hepatitis B is usually given as 2, 3 or 4 shots over 1 to 6 months. Infants should get their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth and will usually complete the series at 6 months of age. It is recommended that both children and adults who have not yet had the vaccine should also be vaccinated.

This vaccine is a 3 dose vaccine. The second vaccine is given 1 month after the first dose and the third dose is given 6 months after the first dose.

Rabies

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that is spread in the saliva of infected animals. Travellers involved in outdoor and other activities such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving can put themselves at risk for animal bites. People usually get rabies from licks, bites or scratches from infected dogs and other animals such as bats, foxes, racoons and mongooses.

Rabies vaccination comes in a 3-shot series (days0, 7 and 21 or 28) which are given before travel. Even if you receive a pre-exposure vaccination, you should still get immediate medical treatment if you are bitten or scratched by an animal. Rabies immunizations are available in select hospitals and government hospitals in UAE.

Yellow FeverYellow fever is a disease caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. The risk of a traveller acquiring yellow fever varies based on season, location, activities, and duration of their travel. Some countries require all travellers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before they can enter the country, some only if the travellers have been in another risk area. Proof of vaccination, a yellow card called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) is not valid until 10 days after you get the vaccine, so plan to get the vaccine early if you need it.

You should receive the vaccine 10 days before your trip. Vaccine lasts for life for most people, but a booster after 10 years is recommended for specific groups of high risk travellers, for whom additional doses should be considered.

Yellow fever immunizations are not available in private clinics, but only in select hospitals and government clinics in the UAE.

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