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What not to forget when planning a trip

(The following are dramatizations.)

The Smith family had been planning to spend the holidays in Rio for the past year. They booked their flight well in advance, found a hotel with a good reputation in a fairly safe neighborhood, bought travelers insurance, and generally did everything they could to make sure their vacation would be both safe and fun. But there was one little detail they forgot — travel vaccinations.

The vacation itself went well. They enjoyed the beach, tried some local cuisine… there were health warnings in the local newspapers, but the Smiths did not go on vacation to read newspapers. They also did not read Portuguese.

The trouble started a couple of weeks after they got home. The day their children began the new semester, Mr. and Mrs. Smith began to feel nauseous. For the first time, their children were able to finish dinner but they themselves could not. The next morning, both of them were running a fever and were almost too weak to get out of bed. They struggled their way to the nearest hospital, where their doctor informed them that they were suffering from hepatitis A. He also said it was quite likely their children were also infected, but were not showing symptoms, so they should stay home from school — assuming they had not already caused an epidemic. Mr. and Mrs. Smith both had to use all their sick days to recover while their ten-year-old son suddenly had to learn how to cook for a family of four.

The Jones family, planning their vacation in Mumbai, took all the precautions the Smith family took, plus one more. They checked the CDC Web site to see what vaccinations were recommended, and got shots against hepatitis A and typhoid. They had a very enjoyable vacation, at one point riding on the back of an elephant. A couple of weeks after they returned home, nothing happened.

Immunization services in Matthews, NC travel vaccinations

The best time to begin planning your vaccination schedule is as soon as you know where you plan to go. At the Traveler Information Center of the CDC Web site, you can find out which vaccines, if any, you will be required to take, and which ones are recommended for your destination. Some of these need to be given in two to three doses over the course of several months.

Once you know which vaccines to take, the next step is to find a travel vaccinations clinic in your area. You should make your first visit to this clinic at least two months before you begin traveling. The Conner Clinic in Matthews, NC specializes in this service, offering vaccinations for yellow fever, meningitis, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies, polio and Japanese encephalitis. If you plan on going to another country any time soon, find out which travel vaccinations you need and schedule an appointment today.

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