Most of us are caught up on routine vaccinations, but before you go on a mission’s trip, you need to be sure you have the right vaccinations that go with the area you are traveling to.
We want to make it easy and walk through the possible vaccinations that you may need as well as educate you on each disease and virus you can contract if you don’t protect yourself.
Below is a detailed chart of the vaccinations each area around the world recommends before travel:
|Central America||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria*|
|Mexico / Caribbean||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria*|
|South America||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Malaria*|
|Europe||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B|
|Australia||Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis|
|Asia||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria*|
|Africa||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Meningitis, Malaria*|
Here’s the breakdown of each vaccination…
HEPATITIS B VACCINATION
Especially for those who attend medical mission’s trips, it’s important to get the Hepatitis B vaccine. The virus is contracted through blood or bodily fluids by an infected person. There are not systems in place to protect you from exposure in the hospitals of third world countries the way hospitals are set up in the U.S. The symptoms of Hep B can lead to lifelong health issues.
HEPATITIS A VACCINATION
Exposure to Hepatitis A affects the liver through food or water that has been poorly sanitized. As a result, Hep A leaves a person sick and nauseous for months. At home, you prepare your own food or order food from a restaurant that has preparation health guidelines to follow. But when you are overseas, food is usually prepared for you or is left sitting out without proper precautions. You aren’t always able to control the sanitization of the food you eat, so it’s important to protect yourself.
You’ve all heard of the bacteria Salmonella. It’s the reason we can’t enjoy raw cookie dough as frequently as we like. Well, Typhoid is a fever caused by Salmonella. The same symptoms as Hep A occur as a result of Typhoid exposure. If left untreated, the sickness and fever can be life-threatening.
Another disease that attacks the liver is the Yellow Fever virus. Mosquitos in tropical and subtropical areas of the world like South America and Africa spread the Yellow Fever virus. The symptoms vary but can potentially be dangerous.
You’ve probably heard of malaria, but there’s another disease that can be spread by mosquitos in parts of Australia and Asia. Mosquitos are not only outdoors, they can come inside as well so they are nearly impossible to avoid altogether. Japanese Encephalitis causes mild sickness but in some cases can produce inflammation of the brain and be life-threatening. Contracting this disease is rare, but it’s worth protecting yourself.
You will want to be sure to eliminate the threat of Meningitis. This disease is caused by bacteria that is passed through the saliva of someone carrying the disease. If you contract Meningitis, you can become very sick and even obtain an infection of the bloodstream.
One more thing
Be sure to also get a malaria preventative prescription.
So far, there is no vaccination for malaria, but there are a few preventative prescriptions for the disease that can be taken throughout your trip. Malaria is also contracted by mosquitos and can lead to severe health concerns if left untreated. Ask your doctor for a prescription and talk through the side effects of the medication. To prepare for any side effects, take pills before leaving and see how your body responds. Be sure you have enough pills and can get a different prescription before your trip if needed!
It’s important to take any potential fears out of your mission’s trip experience, and one way to do that is to be prepared with the right vaccinations you need to stay healthy.
Note: Talk with your doctor for more information on these recommended vaccines so you can make the right decision for you!