Helen’s Travel Corner

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Vaccines, Hepatitis and Typhoid…Oh my!

April 10th, 2008 · No Comments

Tonight someone in class pointed out the vaccines needed prior to the Beijing trip. However, you might have noticed I left that off my to-do list…I guess it will be added now with slightly gritting teeth but not because of a fear of needles. If you glance over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, one can easily get anxious and carried away about the possibility of getting a serious disease while abroad. The descriptions on the China page alone read like the tail end of pharmaceutical commercials which warn viewers about the (uh hem) unpleasant side-effects which tend to ruin the rest of the television show they’re interrupting.

I however take the stance that the CDC has to tell us of every possible threat whether realistic or not to cover their own rear ends…in the same way that one iron company warns users to “never iron clothes while they are being worn.” For the slightest of hypochondriacs out there, the site of a fly might have one running in fear of Japanese encephalitis after reading the page.

While the severity of these diseases is nothing to joke about and precautions should be taken into careful consideration, it is easy to let fear of these possibilities ruin trips. The majority of cases are rare even though tourists do enter countries at their own risk. On the United States CDC website, rabies and the West Nile fever are listed as possible concerns for travelers…which I always worry about when deciding what bite-proof yet fashionable outfits I’m going to wear in Boston!

On the flip side of the coin, avoiding all health warnings will have a traveler’s wellbeing relying on a false sense of security or luck. This enters a dangerous gambling game peppered with ignorance in all aspects of traveling. In short, the travel mindset should balance realistic concerns with the romantic notions of adventure. Too much of either one isn’t practical and can ruin any trip whether if the traveler remains in a state of fear or never experiences unrealistic expectations.

So with that said, I’m adding to my to-do list:

__ Visit the Passport Health Clinic and get the recommended shots for China

Happy and SAFE Travels!

Helen

Tags: health · safety · to-do list

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