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Not just Zika you need to worry about

By now, we have all heard the horror stories about the Zika virus and its invasion of Central and South America. But if you are planning a trip abroad, you should know that there are other health threats — diseases which, unlike Zika, you can defend yourself against with travel vaccinations.

The remarkable thing is how few people think to do this. According to one study, 16% of American adult travelers needed to take the MMR vaccine, but only half of those who needed it took it. Early last year, 29 Americans fell ill from an outbreak of hepatitis A in Mexico. Getting your shots before you travel is one of the most important steps you can take to keep you and your family healthy. Shots against water- and food-borne illnesses such as hepatitis A are particularly important in many parts of the world.

Travel vaccinations fall into three categories: routine vaccinations, recommended travel vaccinations and required travel vaccinations. Routine vaccinations are the vaccines that the CDC advises everyone to get whether they are traveling or staying home. Recommended travel vaccinations are those the CDC recommends for those going to a specific destination. Required travel vaccinations are those that you must have, by law in order to enter certain countries. In some countries, the government will insist you take the yellow fever vaccine and meningitis vaccine before you come. You will need the International Certificate of Vaccination, or yellow card, to prove you have taken them.

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. You can also learn which travel vaccines are recommended but not required. Some of these vaccines need to be given in two to three doses over the course of several months. This is why planning ahead is so important.

Travel vaccinations in Matthews, NC

Once you know which vaccines to 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 lab 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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