What you need to know about mission trip vaccinations

by Natalie Reinhold correspondent

Summer is almost here. Some of us are searching for a job back home; some will intern at a local church; but others have plans to spend their summer on a mission trip or internship overseas. Travel to South American, African and some Asian countries, especially underdeveloped areas, will require immunizations. It is important to remember to plan ahead and know what vaccinations to receive and where you can get them.

Some of the most common diseases to receive vaccinations for are measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), yellow fever, typhoid and malaria.

Though many people have been vaccinated against MMR, diseases have reemerged in the U.S. due to unvaccinated people travelling to other countries and bringing MMR back. While these are all very treatable diseases, spare yourself the worry and get vaccinated against these three sicknesses.

In Asian, Latin American or African countries, it is important to be vaccinated against typhoid. This disease is caught by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. Symptoms include fever, abdominal discomfort, headaches and loss of appetite. According to Passport Health USA, you can be vaccinated against this illness in two different ways: either by injection or by taking pills.

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne virus. It is mostly present in South American countries, such as Panama, and southern African countries, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. Mild symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, headaches and abdominal and muscle pain. Vaccine.gov states that this vaccine is usually given by injection. It is significant to note that this vaccination may be required to travel to certain countries, and proof of the vaccination may be needed.

Prevention against malaria should be taken when traveling to most rural areas. Malaria is also spread by mosquitos and symptoms typically are chills, headaches, body aches and fatigue. Malaria pills should be taken before travelling and for a while after travelling, according to Passport Health USA.

These vaccinations can typically be given by your doctor or your local county health office. Do your research and find out specifically what you need for the area where you are going. Talk with your doctor for further suggestions about what vaccines you should receive and where to get them. Travel safely, and stay healthy this summer.

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