Vaccination checklist for seniors travelling internationally

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Part of the allure of retirement is the opportunity to do new and exciting things. One such adventure is travelling. Whether going halfway across the world or to a neighbouring country, the excitement is palpable. 

From strolling down cobblestone streets to hopping on a cruise across the bluest of oceans, there are so many corners of the world to explore. 

While the mere notion of travel is enough to have you booking flights and taking off, seniors should take a cautious approach. Take the time to research locations and the associated vaccination requirements. This way, you have everything you need to have a good, safe trip. 

Travelling internationally as a senior

With over 50% of those surveyed by Australian Seniors motivated to go on holidays in order to learn about the world, more seniors are travelling internationally than one may actually realise. 

While some seniors and their family members may be cautious, there are ways that seniors can infuse their travels with a level of safety. 

One such safety measure is to plan an easygoing itinerary. By scheduling in rest days, you can ensure that you have enough time to recharge and recover before exploring more sights.

Another safety measure is looking into vaccination requirements. Destinations may have specific diseases that are common or they may require travellers from certain countries to be vaccinated in order to gain entry.

Diseases to be aware of

From Cholera and Typhoid to Rabies and Yellow Fever, there are a lot of different diseases to look out for when travelling. To ensure that you aren’t struck down with a terrible, preventable illness, getting the proper vaccinations is key. 

Typically found in places with subpar water and waste processes, Cholera will spread through contaminated food and water, causing individuals to suffer from diarrhoea and dehydration. 

Spread through contaminated food and water, Hepatitis A is a liver disease that seniors should be inoculated against. 

One of the more serious diseases, Japanese Encephalitis can be spread through a mosquito bite. Another disease spread by mosquitoes is Yellow Fever. Potentially quite serious, sufferers may experience yellowing of the skin and damage to vital organs such as the kidneys and liver. 

When travelling, the local animals may seem exotic and cute, however, some may be carrying Rabies. A bite or scratch to an open wound can result in serious health issues. 

In places with limited access to water, it’s important to be wary of Typhoid. Causing diarrhoea, this disease is typically spread through contaminated food and water sources and is often the result of poor sanitation practices. 

Getting the right vaccinations 

With the ability to help your immune system prepare to fight a potential infection in the future, vaccinations can be the difference between a great trip and a trip ruined by falling sick to an illness that was preventable. 

With this in mind, before going and having a suite of inoculations, book an appointment with your doctor. While you wait for the appointment, conduct some research into your destination countries and see what the common diseases and health risks are.

Armed with this foundational knowledge, you can ask your doctor what they recommend. You should also reiterate any medical conditions you might be suffering from currently in order to confirm compatibility. The doctor will also check that your routine vaccinations such as influenza are up to date. 

The recommended vaccinations might vary from person to person. This is because factors such as age, pregnancy, underlying conditions, vaccination history and even the season of your travel will inform what vaccines and the associated doses you will need. 

It is always best to consult with your doctor as soon as possible. This way, you have enough time to talk through different options before actually receiving the vaccination. It’s important to note that you should always receive a vaccination between 6 and 12 weeks pre travel.

For one, your body needs time to develop full immunity against the disease. In addition to this, some vaccinations are given over a course of treatment and therefore, you need time to receive the right dosage. 

Another thing to note about vaccines is that there are some instances where you will be charged. If you need to buy your own vaccine, you will need a prescription and then you will more likely than not have to return to the doctor so they can administer the vaccine.  

Jetting off for international travel

For some seniors, an international trip has been years in the making. For others, jetting off overseas is part of a yearly routine. Either way, there are some key points that all travellers need to consider.

Along with getting lost in crafting an itinerary, it’s also important to research the vaccine requirements of all the countries you plan to visit. 

Knowing this information could be the difference between spending a few days in a foreign country feeling under the weather or spending that time exploring the unique combination of culture, scenery and history. 

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