Talk with your doctor
months in advance of a trip to find out whether any
immunizations are recommended. Certain factors, such
as your age and health, where you are going, and the length of your stay,
affect your risk of disease and your need for immunization.
Your age and health
People with certain medical
conditions, such as
immune system problems, may have different
immunization recommendations than healthy people. Also, young children who are
traveling may need to receive their routine immunizations sooner than normally
Where you travel
most developed countries (including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and
western and northern European countries), the risk of exposure to serious
diseases is generally no greater than it is in the United States.
The risk of exposure to serious disease may be much higher in developing
countries (such as those in most parts of Africa and Asia and many parts of
South and Central America) than it is in most developed countries. This is
especially true for areas with poor sanitation (for example, poor water and
food handling). For example:
The need for travel immunizations depends on your
immunization history, the specific area you plan to visit, the time of year,
and whether any outbreaks of disease have recently occurred.
How you travel and types of activities
Certain activities or modes of travel increase
your risk of exposure to disease. These include:
- Exploring rural areas or those off the usual tourist
- Taking backpacking trips.
- Visiting people in another country.
Length of stay
longer you stay in a country, the more exposure you have to local
pathogens that could cause harm.
You can get information about
travel immunizations by:
- Contacting your local health department or doctor.
- Visiting the website of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/travel.
For more information on immunizations and health related
to travel, see the topic