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A Guide to Yellow Fever & Why You Should Get Vaccinated

It’s crucial to research potential medical issues that could arise while traveling outside of the U.S. If you’re going to a location that has ample mosquitoes and a high risk for contracting yellow fever, it’s essential to get vaccines. Below are a few reasons why.

What Is Yellow Fever?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yellow fever spreads as infected mosquitoes bite humans. Symptoms range from headaches and muscle aches to fevers and chills that occur around three to six days after being bitten. Nearly one-sixth of the people who develop yellow fever become seriously ill and may experience organ failure, shock, or bleeding due to the disease or related complications.

What Are the Risk Factors for Contracting Yellow Fever?

vaccineThe Mayo Clinic recommends individuals over nine months old who are traveling to countries with a recent history of yellow fever infections should get the vaccine. The CDC notes that Africa and South America present the most cases of yellow fever. Individuals who visit these areas should be vaccinated 10 or more days before leaving for their trip.

At the vaccine appointment you will receive a yellow card, officially called an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, that you should bring along for the duration of your travels as you may need it to enter some countries.

Yellow fever vaccines work for up to 10 years for most people. However, if you plan to return to yellow fever-infected areas after this timeline, it’s wise to talk with your doctor about an additional booster vaccine.

 

Before leaving the country, visit a physician to learn about any vaccines or medications you should take along. To learn more about the yellow fever or other vaccines contact HealthSmart Vaccines in Chantilly, VA, at (703) 961-0733.

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5 Points to Know About Vaccines This Flu Season

This flu season, getting your vaccines is the best way to avoid influenza. Those who neglect to get the shot are susceptible to pneumonia, ear infections, and seizures, and these ailments can be life-threatening to young children and older adults. When it comes to protecting your family this fall, consider the many advantages of vaccination.

5 Facts About Flu Shots

1. The Best Time to Get Vaccines

As airborne illnesses peak in early winter, it is most beneficial to get vaccinated towards the end of October. Physicians recommend scheduling the appointment two weeks before the start of the flu season.

2. The Side Effects of the Flu Shot

After getting the flu vaccine, some patients experience pain in their treated arm. While 10-30% of children under 2 may come down with a fever after immunization, this mild aftereffect is rare among older children and adults.

3. Whether Children Over 6 Months Should Be Vaccinated

To prevent infant illness and the spread of infection, children older than 6 months should receive vaccination. As they are predisposed to developing pediatric illnesses and susceptible to hospitalization, it is pertinent that children under the age of five get the flu shot.

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4. If Pregnant Women Should Be Immunized

Getting vaccinated is one of the most effective ways an expecting mother can protect her unborn child from influenza. As newborns are too young to be immunized, it is important that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers get vaccines so they can safely pass them on to the baby.

5. Falsehoods About the Flu Vaccine

Many rumors revolve around vaccines. Despite common belief, the flu shot cannot cause influenza. As the shot contains an inactive virus, it is impossible for the flu to infect the body. Another common misconception is that it is dangerous for a child with egg allergies to be vaccinated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is false.

 

Since 2006, HealthSmartVaccines has helped patients ward off disease with everything from whooping cough immunizations to tuberculosis testing services. Call (703) 961-0733 to schedule a quality consultation at their certified clinic in Chantilly, Virginia, and visit them online to learn about on-site group clinics committed to your comfort and convenience.

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Super Malaria: What You Should Know

‘Super Malaria’: What You Should Know

Recent news reports about ‘super malaria’ are on the minds of many travelers. What exactly is ‘super malaria’ and to what extent should travelers be concerned about it?

Q: What is ‘super malaria’?

A: Super malaria’ is a term coined by the media that refers to resistance strains of malaria which have emerged in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS): Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Southern Vietnam.  There is no medical or scientific term called ‘super malaria.’

Q: Is ‘super malaria’ new?

A: No, it is not new. The public health and scientific communities have known about it since 2008.  However, based on recently published reports from the region, it is gaining a much larger footprint in Southeast Asia, which has everyone alarmed.

Q: What is malaria resistance?

A: Malaria resistance refers to strains of the parasite which seem resistant to the most commonly and effectively used treatments for malaria.  For many years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a two-drug therapy for simple infections caused by malaria — medications commonly referred to Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT).  ‘Super malaria’ thus refers to cases in the GMS which are showing resistance to ACTs, something that seems to be more common and growing at an alarming rate.

Q: Is malaria resistance new?

A: No, malaria resistance is not new.  In fact, malaria resistance has been around ever since we’ve figured out how to treat malaria, but we have always been able to develop newer medications or combinations of medicines to combat the resistant infections.

Q: Can ‘super malaria’ be treated?

A: Yes, ‘super malaria’ can be treated.  Health facilities in the region have already begun using a different combination of ACTs, ones that include mefloquine.  Mefloquine is a commonly prescribed malaria prophylactic for people traveling into malaria regions, particularly by US travelers prescribed by US physicians.

Q: What should I do if I plan on traveling to this region?

A: The simple answer is to continue to do all the things travelers should do when traveling into areas where there’s malaria:

  • Use strong insect repellants
  • Be sure to cover your arms and legs to prevent mosquito bites (particularly at sunrise and sunset)
  • Sleep under mosquito nets when they’re available or bring them with you
  • Try to keep windows and doors closed at night when sleeping to prevent mosquitoes from entering your room
  • Check with your doctor to see if you should be taking preventive medications prior to traveling. They’re readily available.

Q: Is there anything else I should do?

A: Yes, you need to be aware of ‘super malaria’ if you’re traveling into a region where it’s known to occur: Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.  For the best updated information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or WHO websites for country-specific information on places you plan to travel.

Also, travelers going to malaria regions should consider picking up Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and treatment medications from the local pharmacies when you arrive in country.  RDTs can be used by you to test yourself or a travel companion with a simple pin prick if you’re worried about malaria. They can also be used when returning home if you develop any symptoms for malaria: fever, headache, body aches, flu-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting.  Remember, it usually takes some time between being bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria until you develop signs and symptoms of the infection.  Picking up medications can also be helpful, as often times these treatment medications are not readily available in the United States.

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2017 Flu Season Updates

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. In 2017, a study in Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination also significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

What’s new this flu season?

A few things are new this season:

  • The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses (the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated).
  • Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
  • Two new quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccines have been licensed: one inactivated influenza vaccine (“Afluria Quadrivalent” IIV) and one recombinant influenza vaccine (“Flublok Qudrivalent” RIV).
  • The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.
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What to Know About the Flu Shot

The flu shot is a valuable tool in protecting yourself and your family from the influenza virus. Doctors recommend getting one each year, as the contents of the vaccine change to adapt with the virus. Before you go to HealthSmart Vaccines to get your flu vaccine in Chantilly, VA, it’s important to familiarize yourself with how the vaccine works and its possible side effects.

flu shot

A Guide to the Flu Shot

How It Works

The vaccination protects against multiple strains of the flu, including the H1N1 and H3N2 strains. Since the virus is constantly changing, the shot is slightly different each year to protect against the new season’s strain. Health officials recommend getting the shot in early fall before the start of November. After it’s administered, it will take two weeks for patients to develop immunity against the flu. While it’s not guaranteed to prevent you from getting sick, studies show that it does reduce your chance of contracting the virus. Those who get sick after having the flu shot often experience less severe symptoms.

Possible Side Effects

In most cases, patients experience mild side effects such as swelling, redness, and soreness at the injection site. Some experience aches or fevers of varying severity. Some of the more serious side effects include allergic reactions, hives, difficulty breathing, or a racing heart. If any of these more serious side effects occur, it’s best to see a doctor for treatment.

There is a common misconception that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine, but this is simply untrue. The viruses in the flu shot are killed, so you cannot get sick from them. Those who do get the flu immediately after the shot were simply unlucky enough to get sick before they were able to build up an immunity.

The flu shot is the best way to be proactive against influenza, and the experienced staff at HealthSmartVaccines will make getting your vaccination easy. They can even accommodate patients who are planning to travel by providing a set of booster shots. Contact us at (703) 961-0733 to schedule your appointment.

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Travel Vaccine Checklist: 3 Immunizations to Get Before You Go Abroad

World travel can expose you to different cultures, new environments, and exciting activities. But going abroad can also expose you to a variety of illnesses that don’t pose as much of a risk in the United States. Fortunately, you can avoid bringing home one of these unwanted souvenirs by getting all the necessary travel vaccines from HealthSmartVaccines in Chantilly, VA.

As a travel clinic in Northern Virginia, HealthSmartVaccines specializes in providing immunizations that can keep you protected in another country—and help prevent foreign illnesses from entering the United States. While these immunizations are affordable and quick to receive, this clinic stresses the importance of getting complete coverage for your travels.

travel vaccines

That’s why they recommend making sure you ask your provider about:

  • Routine Vaccinations: Although routine immunizations are commonplace for younger patients, there are also important vaccines for adults, especially adults traveling abroad.  Before you travel, review your immunization records to be sure that your immunizations are complete and current. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and influenza are routinely recommended for all travelers and, depending on destinations, yellow fever, polio, rabies and Japanese Encephalitis may be recommended for required. Also, some countries require proof of immunization for meningitis. Take the time to protect yourself against serious, vaccine preventable diseases before you travel.
  • Required Vaccinations:The travel vaccines you need before heading to a specific part of the world can vary and, in some instances, are required to enter the country. Spending more than a month in Japan and traveling to rural areas may indicate immunization for Japanese Encephalitis. If you’re visiting South America or Africa, you may need to show proof you have had a yellow fever vaccination. To review specific recommendations by travel destination, visit the CDC website for a full list.
  • Recommended Vaccinations: While some vaccinations are a must for certain locations, other recommendations may fall into a certain gray area. As such, it’s a good idea to speak with a specialist at a travel clinic who can assess your particular situation and what will be necessary. For example, you may find if you’re going to a metropolitan area overseas, you may not need immunizations that are typically required for those exploring less inhabited parts of the country.

Whether you need to update your immunizations, (some have specific time limitations for optimum protection), or require destination specific vaccines, contact HealthSmartVaccines  As a highly regarded travel specialty clinic in Chantilly, VA and a 10 minute drive from Dulles International Airport, we will provide you the information and immunizations services to help protect your travel related health. If you have a question about your needs or want to schedule a visit, contact the clinic at (703) 961-0733.

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Do You Need a Vaccination for Your Next Trip?

Nothing can ruin a fun-filled vacation faster than illness. While there’s always a possibility of getting sick or injured wherever you are in the world, there are some precautions you can take to stay healthy while traveling. Getting vaccinations before embarking on your trip can prevent all kinds of ailments, from measles to tetanus.

vaccinationsWhen discussing travel vaccines, it’s important to realize that these shots aren’t just necessary for exotic destinations. A 2015 outbreak of measles linked to Disney parks proves that you don’t have to be far from home to get sick. This highlights the first essential step of travel vaccine planning: Ensure that all regular vaccinations are up to date.

If you’re going further afield, you may need additional shots to ensure a safe trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a useful website that provides vaccine recommendations for every country. If you’re traveling to Belize, for instance, they recommend hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines for “most” travelers. Meanwhile, “some” travelers may also be advised to get shots for hepatitis B, rabies, yellow fever, and malaria.

Several factors differentiate “most” from “some” travelers, and the subsequent suggestions for both. A rabies vaccination is an urgent matter for children who are more prone to play with wild animals, while the need for malaria medication might depend on whether you plan to backpack through the jungle or stay in a five-star hotel.

A travel medicine expert can best advise regarding your unique vaccination needs before a trip. Make sure you consult a professional well in advance, as some vaccines require weeks of incubation time and booster shots before they are effective. While this will add to your travel planning, it’s well worth the effort: With a simple shot, there’s no need to let preventable diseases ruin your vacation.

 

 

If you’re planning a trip and aren’t sure whether you need travel vaccines, HealthSmart Vaccines can help. Located in Chantilly, VA, they offer a full range of vaccinations that will keep you fit on your holiday. In addition to comprehensive travel health advice, vaccines, and medications, they also have travel insurance services. To schedule an appointment, contact them online or by calling (703) 961-0733. 

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3 Important Reasons to Get Travel Vaccinations

If you’re planning a vacation or extended holiday in an exotic location, you may need to get vaccinated to safeguard against any potential diseases. The medical professionals at HealthSmart Vaccines in Chantilly, VA, stress the importance of understanding the risks and addressing them proactively by scheduling for your travel vaccinations.

Understanding the Importance of Travel Vaccinations

travel vaccination

  • Risk of Disease: If you are traveling to an exotic destination, you may be at risk for a myriad of diseases your body is not prepared to fight. As a preventative measure, it’s important to receive the appropriate vaccinations. A vaccine contains the microorganism in its weakest form that is then injected into your body. Your immune system produces antibodies to fight off the organism in the event you come in contact with the disease again.
  • Returning Home: Some vaccines, such as that for yellow fever, are required before you can enter a country. This is due to the high risk of exposure for such diseases, in which they can be transmitted through a mosquito bite and passed along once the host is infected. Without these required vaccines, you may run into difficulties returning home.
  • Save Money on Healthcare: If you opt to go on your trip without getting the recommended vaccinations and contract an illness, you could end up spending a fortune on hospitalization and medical care. While vaccinations do cost money, they’re only the fraction of the cost of emergency healthcare.

When you leave for vacation you’ll be rest assured knowing you’re protected from diseases thanks to travel vaccines. Call (703) 961-0733 to set up an appointment at HealthSmart Vaccines or visit our website for more information about their comprehensive list of services.

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3 Supplements You’ll Need on Vacation

When packing for your vacation, the first items in your suitcase are typically a bathing suit, sunscreen, and flip flops. While those things are important, the key to a satisfying trip is to stay healthy. Bringing along the appropriate supplements can be the difference between spending your time at the beach and being miserable. Visiting a travel clinic before you leave can help you understand the supplements you need to stay healthy. HealthSmartVaccines, located in Chantilly, VA, provides visitors with vaccines to keep them safe from illness such as tuberculosis and yellow fever.

While vaccines are an excellent option for some travel, not all destinations require a shot. Take these supplement with you on your next vacation to ensure a healthy trip.

vaccines

  • Magnesium: Because our Western diet fails to provide enough magnesium, most Americans are deficient already. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps your body function in several different ways. This supplement can ease the pain of stiff or sore muscles, which is helpful after a long car or plane ride. It also improves sleep and keeps your bowels moving regularly. Bring a magnesium supplement with you on your next trip to keep your body happy.
  • Probiotics: Your immune system keeps your body healthy. It fights against bacteria and viruses that can ruin a vacation. Probiotics help maintain a healthy amount of good bacteria in your gut, which is necessary for the proper function of your immune system.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is the classic health booster supplement, as it plays a part in the growth and repair of tissue, skin cells, and collagen. This helps in wound healing.

When traveling to a foreign country, vaccines are a healthy option. However, a family vacation or short business trip only requires the intake of a few supplements. Keep healthy on your next adventure by incorporating these into your routine. When vaccines are a necessity, visit HealthSmartVaccines in Chantilly, VA. With over 20 years experience, they are an elite travel clinic that will keep you happy and healthy. For more information, call (703) 961-0733 today.

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5 Key Facts to Know About the Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to minimize your risk of contracting the flu. January is not too late to vaccinate. The peak of the flu season is usually late January through April with the peak in the February and March period. Live or work in the Chantilly area? Visit HealthSmartVaccines’ clinic for your flu shot and all adult vaccine needs including travel vaccines. If you plan to fly this winter, especially longer and international flights, it is especially important to have a flu shot. Remember, there are two different vaccines available this year and for the best protection, be sure you receive the vaccine that protects against four different strains of flu. HealthSmartVaccines only offers the better vaccine.

Our modern and convenient immunization clinic offers the vaccines you need to stay healthy and protected against preventable contagious diseases at home and on the road. We also offer travel insurance through Travel Guard, an AIG company. A minimal investment in travel protection may protect both your health and your wallet.

FLU FACTS — Q & A

  • Why You Should Get It: The flu can vary in intensity and may affect people in different ways. Millions of people contract it every year, and in serious cases, it can require hospitalization and even cause death. Getting a flu shot is the single best way to avoid contracting the illness. Between 35,000 and 40,000 Americans die of the flu every year.
  • How The Vaccine Works: Over the course of the two weeks following your shot, antibodies will develop in response to fight the small amount of viruses that are present in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine prepares your body to fight four different types of influenza viruses.

flu shot

  • Who Should Get It: For children six months to age 17, contact your pediatrician or family physician. Most adults between age 18 and 64 should receive an annual flu shot. Adults 65 and older should receive a special high dose flu shot designed especially for this age group.  If you have any doubts or concerns, call HealthSmartVaccines or consult with your personal physician.
  • Pregnancy: It is recommended that women who are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant should receive a flu shot.
  • Are there some people who should not receive a flu shot? Yes If you have ever had a reaction to the flu or any vaccine, consult with your physician. If you are allergic to eggs or taking medications that may affect your immune system, consult with your physician.
  • How Often You Should Go: It’s recommended that individuals get vaccinated annually, because the viruses are constantly changing. The vaccination is updated regularly, and you need the latest shot for the most thorough protection.

To schedule your flu vaccine with HealthSmartVaccines, call (703) 961-0733. You can also visit the center’s website to learn more about their additional services.

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