Using vaccinations to keep seniors safe traveling abroad

By August 8, 2012Archives

When a senior citizen plans to travel out of the country, several things must be done ahead of time to ensure their safety. One of the most (if not the most) important details that must be taken care of before traveling abroad is vaccinations. Countries around the world have their own specific disease protocols and, therefore, their own mandatory vaccinations. You can help your loved one by assisting them in these medical preparations. The following tips can help to make your loved ones trip a safe and enjoyable one.

Seniors must schedule a visit to their physician at least four to six weeks in advance of their departure date. The reason they need to see their doctor so far in advance is that most vaccines take a longer period of time to become effective in the body. Some vaccines must be given in a series. For example, some are given over a period of several days, while others need to be given over a period of weeks. For seniors with compromised immune systems, it is vital to protect them from disease while abroad. Vaccinations are the best tool to prevent such a problem.

Do you know what specific types of vaccinations your loved one may need before departure?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has classified travel related vaccines into three different categories. They are routine, recommended, and required. While seniors should be told by their physician which vaccines are needed to travel, it is advised to do some research of your own ahead of time. let your caregiver help. The more information you have, the smoother the process will be.

  • Routine Vaccines

Many adults simply assume that the vaccines they were given as a child protect them forever. Generally this is true, but there are some exceptions. Many seniors were never properly vaccinated as children. This is partly because some modern vaccines were simply not available when they were kids. In addition, immunity fades over time and the elderly become more susceptible to developing a serious disease from a common infection. Two great examples are the influenza and pneumococcal viruses.

  • Recommended Vaccines

This type of vaccine is recommended to keep traveling seniors protected from diseases known to be present in other parts of the world. They are also recommended to prevent seniors from bringing those same diseases back into the United States. The specific vaccines a senior will need to have depends on many different factors including their destination, if they will spend time in rural or highly populated areas, the time of year they are traveling, age, condition of health and previous vaccinations given.

  • Required Vaccines

The only vaccination that is required by the International Health Regulations is a yellow fever vaccine. It is required when anyone travels to countries within sub-Saharan Africa or the tropics of South America. In order for seniors to receive a yellow fever vaccine, you will need to make sure their physician offers the vaccination, along with an official certificate of administration. If their doctor does not offer the proper vaccination, they can give you the name of a healthcare provider who does. In addition, the Saudi Arabian government requires meningococcal vaccines for annual travel during the Hajj. You can find information on required vaccinations along with a list of authorized United States vaccination clinics by visiting the CDC’s website.


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