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Plan travel vaccinations when going abroad

Travel vaccinations are something we often neglect. According to one study, 16% of American adult travelers needed to take the MMR vaccine, but only half of those who needed to take it did. But getting your shots before you travel is one of the most important steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. The best time to begin work on your vaccination schedule is as soon as you know what country you are going to go to. At the Traveler Information Center of the CDC Web site, you can find out which vaccines, if any, you will be required to take for that country.

Three diseases to beware of

Hepatitis A is most often found in developing countries with bad sanitary conditions and low levels of hygiene. Ironically, in these places the disease rarely takes the form of epidemics, because most people are infected with it in early childhood and are thereafter immune. However, if you have no immunity it is still possible for you to contract the virus from them.

The first symptoms of hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after infection. They are sometimes mistaken for influenza, and include fatigue, fever, nausea and loss of appetite, followed by jaundice and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear in adults, but not in children.

Yellow fever is mostly found in tropical parts of South America and Africa. It is spread by mosquito bite, not through person-to-person contact. As with hepatitis A, the first symptoms can be mistaken for the flu: they include headaches, muscle pains, nausea, chills and fever. After this comes the remission period. However, in 15 to 25 percent of cases, viral hemorrhagic fever sets in which kills half of those who contract it.

Bacterial meningitis is most common in Brazil, India and western and central Africa. The initial symptoms in adults are headaches and rigidity of the neck. If properly treated, the risk of death from bacterial meningitis is less than 15 percent, but over 300,000 people died of it in 2013.

Getting travel vaccinations in Matthews, NC

Once you know which vaccines you should take, the next step is to find a travel vaccinations clinic in your area, where experts can help you set up a schedule that will have you fully immunized in time for your trip. You should make your first visit 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, along with routine vaccinations such as the measles shot and annual flu shots. If you plan on going to another country any time soon, find out which vaccinations you need and make an appointment today.

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