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Vaccinations for Traveling Internationally: What You Need to Know

Are you going to be traveling out of the country? If so, it is important to take your health into account before you leave. Many foreign countries have a high prevalence of diseases that can be easily prevented with the right vaccinations. HealthSmart Vaccines of Chantilly, VA, administers common vaccines for illnesses like influenza, but they also carry many travel vaccines for those who venture outside of the U.S.

If you are traveling to any of the following places, it is highly recommended that you receive vaccinations for certain diseases:

travel vaccines

  • Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid Fever, and Meningococcal Meningitis
  • Central America: Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid Fever
  • China: Hepatitis A and B
  • Greenland: Hepatitis A and B
  • India: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, consider Japanese Encephalitis for travel to rural areas, planning an extended stay, and the time of year.
  • South America: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid Fever, and Yellow Fever
  • South Asia: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid Fever, Polio, and Japanese Encephalitis
  • South Pacific: Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid Fever

Don’t let this list scare you; traveling is a rewarding and exciting opportunity. But it’s very important to be prepared for any and all possibilities when it comes to your health. Millions of people every year travel the world and expose themselves to vaccine-preventable diseases. Those at the highest risk of contracting one of these diseases include adventure travelers, scuba divers, backcountry hikers, and people who stay in hostels. Do not make yourself susceptible to a preventable illness—get vaccinated today.

For more information on vaccine-preventable diseases, to make an appointment for vaccinations, or for information on travel insurance, call HealthSmart Vaccines in Chantilly, VA, at (703) 961-0733.

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Vaccinations & Immunizations Explained by HeathSmartVaccines in Chantilly

The friendly and knowledgeable staff at HealthSmartVaccines in Chantilly, Virginia, is here to help you understand some common vaccines and why they are so important. From workplace flu shots and clinics to travel vaccines, HealthSmartVaccines is committed to keeping the community safe and well-informed.

Here are some things you might not know about vaccinations and immunizations:

TDaP Vaccine: TDaP is a vaccine that protects against three bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or whooping cough. Most people get the TDaP vaccine when they are 11 or 12. TDaP is especially important for non-immunized adults who are around infants and young children as well as health care professionals because the vaccine protects newborns from whooping cough. If it has been a while since you’ve received the TDaP immunization, it might be time for a booster shot. HealthSmartVaccines recommends updating these every 10 years.

Hepatitis Vaccines: There are two types of hepatitis vaccines: Hepatitis A, which protects against the hepatitis A virus, and Hepatitis B, which protects against the hepatitis B virus. Children between the ages of 12 months and 23 months should be immunized with both vaccines. Depending on your international travel plans and current health status, HealthSmartVaccines might recommend getting these immunizations again. For adults who need to be vaccinated, ask HealthSmartVaccines about Twinrix, which combines the Hepatitis A and B vaccines.

MMR Vaccine: The MMR vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. MMR is recommended for all children. In most states, it is actually a school requirement. HealthSmartVaccines recommends everyone born in 1957 or later receive this vaccine as well.

HealthSmartVaccines provides all approved vaccines for adults. The health care professionals can answer any questions you might have about what vaccines or immunizations you should get. For more information, visit the HealthSmartVaccines website, or call them at (703) 961-0733 to learn more about flu shots and clinics in the Chantilly, Virginia, area.

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Chantilly’s Trusted Vaccination Source Explains How to Properly Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. How can you be sure you’re doing it correctly to obtain the most effective disease-prevention results? The team at HealthSmartVaccines in Chantilly, VA is here to walk you through the CDC-recommended process, a simple five-step technique to ensure maximum germ elimination.

Here are the CDC’s guidelines for effective hand-washing to protect yourself and others from illness:

Wet: Begin by wetting your hands in clean water—either warm or cold water will do. Then apply soap to your wet hands. It’s important to note that if you do not have clean water and soap available to you, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best option, though it is not able to eliminate all types of germs.

Lather: Once you’ve soaped up your hands, thoroughly lather all areas of your hands, including the areas between your fingers and under your fingernails.

Scrub: Scrub your lathered hands together—the CDC recommends that you spend at least 20 seconds on this step. If you need help keeping time, sing “happy birthday” to yourself twice.

Rinse: When you’ve scrubbed your hands for the proper amount of time, it’s time to rinse off under clean, running water.
Dry: Last but not least, dry off your hands beneath an air dryer or with a clean paper towel.

HealthSmartVaccines is Fairfax County’s go-to destination for vaccinations and immunizations, from routine flu shots to travel vaccines, as well as travel insurance and TB testing. To learn more about their health essentials, call (703) 961-0733.

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4 Reasons to Get the Whooping Cough Vaccination From HealthSmartVaccines

It is peak flu season, so hearing a co-worker or a child at the grocery store cough is commonplace. When that cough turns into gasping for air—or “whooping”—it might be too late. HealthSmartVaccines recommends that parents, grandparents, babysitters, teachers—anyone who comes into regular contact with young children and babies—get the pertussis vaccination.

Located in Chantilly, Virginia, HealthSmartVaccines provides all approved vaccines for adults. The pertussis immunization is especially important for adults because the airborne disease is highly contagious.

Here are four reasons why the knowledgeable health care professionals at HealthSmartVaccines recommend getting the whooping cough vaccination or a booster shot:

• Pertussis can be prevented with vaccines. Before the immunization was available, about 200,000 children got whooping cough every year. Now, there are an estimated 10,000 to 40,000 diagnoses each year. HealthSmartVaccines offers numerous vaccines and clinics to keep the number of reported cases in Chantilly, Virginia, at a minimum.

• Babies don’t receive the pertussis vaccine until they are two months old. This makes them highly vulnerable to the disease. They need the adults in their lives to protect them by getting the vaccination at HealthSmartVaccines. About half of infants under the age of one who contract whooping cough need to receive treatment in a hospital.

• The pertussis vaccination doesn’t last a lifetime. Adults should consider a booster immunization against pertussis. HealthSmartVaccines offers the Tdap vaccine, a single shot that protects against pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus.

• Adults won’t know they have whooping cough until it’s too late. Also known as “the 100-day cough,” whooping cough starts like the common cold, but the symptoms worsen after a few weeks. By then, a person with pertussis has probably infected anyone in the house who hasn’t received the vaccination. HealthSmartVaccines can give immunizations to anyone over the age of 18.

Adults who have never received the pertussis vaccination should consider it, and adults who have received it years ago should consider a booster shot. To learn more about how vaccines can protect young children from preventable diseases, visit HealthSmartVaccines online, or call them at (703) 961-0733 to learn more about flu shots and clinics.

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4 Malaria Prevention Tips From HealthSmartVaccines in Chantilly, VA

HealthSmartVaccines in Chantilly, VA, has been committed to keeping their community vaccinated and well informed since 1992. Over the last 23 years, HealthSmartVaccines has helped thousands of patients with vaccinations, immunizations, and flu shots & clinics. They are also a leading source for educating travelers on malaria prevention. Here are four tips from the expert team at HealthSmartVaccines for preventing malaria:

Awareness: Malaria is a severe infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Many travelers are infected every year, but most cases are preventable. The very first step is awareness. Before you embark on an exciting international journey, do your research and find out if there is any risk of contracting malaria while you visit.

Avoidance: If you have determined your destination is a high-risk area for malaria, stock up on supplies. Buy plenty of insect repellent that contains at least 20% DEET. Invest in sleep netting so you’re protected overnight, and pack clothes that will protect your skin from exposure. Shorts and tank tops might seem weather appropriate, but long pants and long sleeves will offer much better protection.

Vaccines: There are various antimalarial drugs and vaccines on the market. The right vaccine for you depends on the country you’ll be visiting and your personal concerns with the frequency of dosing and potential side effects. It’s best to consult with HealthSmartVaccines to find what’s right for your needs.
Post-travel Check: Upon your return, be aware of any malaria symptoms. If you’re experiencing fever, respiratory illness, rash, or diarrhea, contact your healthcare provider right away and inform them of your recent travels.

If you live near Chantilly, Virginia and you’re looking for travel vaccines, call HealthSmartVaccines today at (703) 961-0733.

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Flu Vaccinations From HealthSmart Vaccines Keep Everyone Safe

Even though flu season is just around the corner, many people put off getting a vaccine until it’s too late. Not only does taking your chances with the flu put you at risk of serious illness, but it also impacts the people around you. For parents of newborns, those who care for the elderly, and immunocompromised people, the consequences of contracting influenza can be severe. To help protect you and your family, HealthSmart Vaccines offers flu shots and clinics to residents throughout Chantilly, VA.

The flu virus is spread by an infected person sneezing and coughing, expelling tiny droplets into the air, onto surfaces, and into their hands. You can contract the flu just by touching a doorknob or shaking hands and start showing symptoms within just a few days. These symptoms include aches, a dry cough, headaches, and fever. The flu can even lead to pneumonia in some cases, which is not only incredibly painful but also potentially fatal for vulnerable members of the population.

Luckily, this extremely disruptive disease is easy to prevent with vaccinations from HealthSmart Vaccines. Getting a flu shot is very inexpensive and easy, especially when compared to the discomfort and risk associated with developing influenza. They’ll even come to your place of work, offering immunization and protection for you and everyone you come into contact with.

HealthSmart Vaccines offers a wide range of vaccines and travel insurance, so visit their website to learn more or call (703) 961-0733 to get more information and schedule a flu clinic today.

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Travelers Diarrhea TD

Up to 50% of travelers to Asia, Africa, Central America and the Middle East report 1 or more bouts of “travelers’ diarrhea” (TD). 3-4 watery stools in a matter of hours, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting and bloating characterize this annoying illness. Mishandled food contaminated with fecal matter ingested by the traveler takes only a few hours to cause the rapid onset of diarrhea. Travelers with underlying stomach and intestinal problems may want to get advice from their personal physician as to self-treatment of diarrhea. Unfortunately, there is NO vaccine for diarrhea.

Contaminated, raw or under cooked food, raw seafood, salad washed with contaminated water, ice cubes and drinking water contribute to this illness.  If you think your destination is an “at risk” place, where there is a possibility that food and drink would not be safe, be prepared. Eat only thoroughly cooked foods, avoid salads and eat cooked veggies, Don’t save leftovers, don’t eat food exposed to outdoor heat or flies, drink and brush teeth ONLY with sealed bottled water. Consume only pasteurized dairy products.

“Probiotics” and intestinal health has been all over the media. Unofficial, individual reports are positive for limited prevention of diarrhea!  Your trip preparation may include bringing over the counter probiotics and a few lightweight food items that will help with fluid replacement following diarrhea. Oatmeal packets, soup packets, dry Pedialyte® or CeraLyte®that you can add boiled or bottled water to. Salty crackers are good to have handy. If you have a fever or bloody diarrhea, seek medical help immediately. The WHO states hand washing alone can lower the incidence of TD by as much as 30%.

Boil it, cook it, peel it OR forget it!

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Children and Travel

Children are likely to face most of the same health issues during international travel as adults.  Caregivers should be acutely aware of signs of distress or illness of infants and children in their care. If the little travelers have chronic conditions or are immunocompromised, special consideration must be given to their needs. Children can quickly become dehydrated, fussy and febrile. A few important tips come to mind, for example, only serve pasteurized dairy products and thoroughly cooked foods. Infant formula must be mixed with bottled water. Bring: your own car seat for safe travel, quick snacks to satisfy a hunger emergency, oral re-hydration solution packets(check out www.ceraproductsinc.com), childrens’ medicines appropriate to treat a fever or pain. Antimalaria medication prescribed by the child’s doctor will be based on weight and destination.  www.cdc.gov/travel has detailed information on malaria  including avoidance measures for mosquitoes and other pesky vectors. Repellents containing at least 25% DEET  is appropriate and safe for exposed skin on children over 2 months of age according to the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics.  Sunblock with SPF >15 is a must along with appropriate clothing to prevent sunburn. Keeping little hands clean is a near insurmountable task, yet exposure to disease from sand, soil and solid surfaces is common. Teach children  to keep away from animals that can potentially carry rabies. www.arlingtonpediatrics.com has some wonderful tips for a variety of common concerns. My hands-down favorite guide for parents traveling with children is found at www.kidsTravelDoc.com

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Medical Care Items to take on Your Trip

Take enough of your everyday prescription medications plus a weeks worth in case of unexpected delays or diversions. Bottles must be properly and professionally labeled with the name of pharmacy, the med, your name and your doctor’s name. Hand carry the doctor’s written prescription which can be beneficial in the case of certain medications which could be confiscated in any country without identification. Especially true with controlled substances. If you require insulin, protect the vaccine potency by properly storing  it. Take enough syringes for your journey, never assume you will be able to buy sterile or even legitimate diabetic supplies overseas. If you have questions about taking injectable medications on a plane, the size containers and contents allowed, contact TSA via their web page www.tsa.gov   Don’t put all of your medication in one place. Split them up so you’ll have some in case a bag is temporarily lost. Pack an extra Epi-pen. Carry other prescription medications from your doctor such as anti-malaria tablets, travelers’ diarrhea antibiotics or altitude meds. Be extremely careful of purchasing medicine overseas. Standard prescription medication in the US may be over the counter in other countries but its difficult to know counterfeit from legitimate. Contents and strength may not be appropriate so its best to carry you own.

Depending on your destination and planned itinerary, you may need to pack a basic medical kit in your checked baggage.  This may include a variety of band-aids, gauze rolls, tape, pair of scissors, tweezers for removing splinters, a few disposable gloves, antiseptic for wound cleaning, “ace”wraps for sprains, saline eye drops, and a thermometer (especially if you travel with children). Over the counter medicines may include those for reducing a fever, pain relief, antacids, anti-diarrheals, stool softeners, motion-sickness medicine, sleep aids, oral re-hydration packets, hand sanitizer, decongestants/antihistamines, foot powder or anti-fungal cream, topical anti-itch preparation with 1% hydrocortisone for bites and stings, swimmers” ear drops, sunburn relief lotion just to name a few. Travel health supplies can be purchases in pharmacies, on-line or customized based on your destination, length of stay, access to medical assistance and plans for adventure! Travel healthy, travel smart!

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