Doctors suggest vaccinations ahead of spring break travel

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (February 17, 2015) – While spring break may still be a few weeks away, doctors say there are steps you should take now to make sure your family’s health is protected during any planned vacations.

Dr. Christopher Belcher, director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, said there are specific vaccines recommended for travelers, depending on where they are going.

“Every developing country in the world is going to need Hepatitis A vaccine and Typhoid vaccines, because those are spread by food and water, “ Belcher said. “They’re very easy to pick up.”

He suggests people get the necessary vaccines at least two weeks before traveling. Plus, he said it is still important to keep the flu shot in mind.

“You’re on an airplane, touching surfaces, there’s recycled air,” Belcher said. “And, in the southern hemisphere, flu goes around in our summer, their winter, and in the equatorial regions it’s year-round. “

Another big concern this year is the measles. Belcher said adults and children who are at least two years old should travel with documentation that they are immune to measles or get two vaccines.

“Measles is just such a contagious disease,” Belcher said. “You really only need to be around or in a room with someone to catch it. If you’re not immune to it, you’re likely to catch it if you’re around someone with measles.”

There have been 121 cases of the measles in the U.S. this year. The current outbreak is believed to have originated at a California amusement park.  So, it’s not just international travelers that need to be protected.

Belcher said one patient, who did not go to doctor before traveling abroad, returned from a trip to China with measles in the fall.

“So if you don’t have documentation of having your two measles vaccines, it’s usually best just to re-vaccinate,” Belcher said. “Levels can be drawn to show you’re immune, but the cost of the levels is approaching the cost of the vaccine. So in doubt, in a rush, whatever, just get vaccinated.”

To find out what vaccines are recommended for your spring break destination, visit the CDC website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

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