“Snow-Birds’ Need Vaccinations Too

Travel vaccines include MMR, Cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and Typhoid says the CDC

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As the cold weather and snowy conditions engulf most of the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning travelers to the warm Caribbean Islands to check their immunizations before heading south.

Countries including Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands were devastated by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

The extent of destruction across these countries varies.

Post-hurricane environmental conditions may pose an increased risk for the spread of infectious diseases in hurricane-affected areas. Mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika*, dengue, and chikungunya may be found in these areas.

Contaminated drinking water and reduced access to safe water, food, and shelter in some areas may create conditions for outbreaks of infectious diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid, vibriosis, Zika, and influenza.

The CDC says potential visitors should postpone travel to severely affected areas because serious health and safety risks may be present and medical care may be limited or unavailable.

Those who must travel, including those who are traveling for humanitarian aid work, should adhere to the following CDC recommendations:

  • Travelers should take steps to prevent bug bites. Many of these areas also remain at risk of Zika, so pregnant women should not travel to these areas.
  • Malaria is also a risk in Haiti and parts of the Dominican Republic, so travelers should talk to their healthcare provider or pharmacist about taking medicine to prevent it.
  • Contaminated water and food can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other, more serious, illnesses including leptospirosis, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and vibriosis.
  • If you get a cut or wound, clean it out as quickly as possible. And check the date for your last Tetanus vaccination.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop a high fever, headache, chills, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some diseases, like leptospirosis, are treatable with antibiotics but can lead to serious harm or death if left untreated.

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The CDC suggests scheduling an appointment with a travel medicine clinic, your healthcare provider, or pharmacists at least 4–6 weeks before you depart.

You should learn about vaccines and medicines recommended for your destination.

Recommended vaccines to consider include hepatitis A, typhoid, and hepatitis B, says the CDC.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector prices for general information.

Vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

For country-specific information about Safety and Security, visit the US Department of State Travel Alerts and Warnings page. For a list of all Zika virus travel notices by region, visit Zika travel information.