If you or your family are about to head out of the country or overseas, most likely this time of year to someplace warm, the Will County Health Department is reminding you that travel vaccinations may be a good idea. All you have to do is call and ask.
Patrick McCarthy, Community Health Educator from the Immunizations Program at the Will County Health Department, says that while vaccinations may only be required in some situations, they are a very good precaution to take.
“We often have people who find out at the last minute that travel vaccinations are required, such as with Yellow Fever in parts of Africa,” McCarthy explained. “This can be tricky because the Center for Disease Control only permits administration of Yellow Fever vaccinations in certain locations. Your physician may not have the vaccine, but at the Will County Health Department, we do.”
McCarthy also mentioned that travelers often check the Center for Disease Control website and receive general information about illnesses in certain areas. But the Health Department can provide recommendations for specific parts of whichever country you plan to visit. You can call the Health Department for an appointment for a pre-travel consultation to learn how to stay healthy on your trip.
A specialized travel health information service will provide a full report about current health advisories, immunization requirements and recommendations, and general travel advice for wherever you are going. During a 60 to 90 minute consultation with an Immunizations Nurse; other factors, such as your personal health history, are considered as well. You can then receive any needed vaccinations right away.
In addition to Yellow Fever, McCarthy cited Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis vaccinations, as well as anti-malarial medications, as other examples of what might be recommended for your trip.
“I know from experience,” McCarthy reflected, “such as after a trip to the Caribbean; I was having a great time and bought something at a food stand along a beach. So afterwards, I would think to myself, ‘Was that food I ate safe to eat? I should have been more careful.’ You just never know.”
It is recommended that you receive your vaccinations three to four weeks before your trip, to allow it to completely take effect. But certainly, McCarthy says, at the last minute is better than none at all. For any information on what vaccinations might be a good idea before your upcoming trip, just call Will County Health Department Immunizations at 815-740-8143, or stop by at 501 Ella Avenue to ask about an appointment.