If you are planning a trip, ask your doctor if you need any immunizations. Discuss your travel plans with your physician at least three months before you leave. In addition:
- If you are traveling to an area where insect-borne disease is present, take and use an insect repellent containing N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET). In many tropical regions, mosquitoes can carry malaria, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and many other serious infections. In many parts of the United States, ticks in meadows and woods carry Lyme disease or other diseases.
- Avoid getting any unnecessary shots, immunizations, or even tattoos abroad. Needles and syringes (even the disposable ones) are reused in some parts of the world.
More Answers from Anthony Komaroff, MD