Nothing spoils a trip faster than getting sick. And a good way to protect yourself is by getting certain vaccinations before you leave home.
Regardless of your destination, make sure you’re up to date on routine immunizations like MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), DPT (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), varicella (chicken pox), polio and the flu shot.
You may also need other vaccinations (as well as medications), depending on where you’re going, how long you’ll be there, what you’ll be doing, and whether you’ll be traveling to a country outside the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC recommends scheduling a visit with your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to go over your needs—some shots must be given weeks in advance. The CDC has a travel health website (see below) that lets you look up recommended as well as any mandatory travel vaccinations for hundreds of destinations. You can also find the latest information on the Zika virus and any travel health notices detailing outbreaks of illnesses around the world.
Your vaccination needs may also be determined by your personal health circumstances, like having an illness that affects your immune system or if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding or traveling with an infant or young children.
Some doctors’ offices provide some shots, but you may need to go to an authorized vaccine center, local health department, or travel clinic, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It may take some effort and legwork, but getting the right shots can make sure everybody stays happy and healthy on your trip.