I remember the first time I traveled abroad with my family to Latin America and had to get shot in my bum to prevent myself from acquiring some type of foreign fever. The injection site was painful and I couldn’t sit on my “poto” (bum) for at least a week.
Since then I have been cautious about vaccines and regulations that travel health clinics put forth to those traveling abroad. And although I believe that there are many vaccines that can be avoided due to inflated prices and complications that can occur at the site of injection, I do think there are some necessary vaccinations that one should receive before traveling to South America.
Considering eating street food? Don’t skimp on the Hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A is acquired from contaminated food, and is a viral infection of the liver. You can come in contact with this nasty little virus consuming food or water that is soiled with the virus. According to some reports, this is the second most common illness among travelers. Symptoms are usually immediate and can include, fever, malaise, vomiting and intense abdominal pain. This is a fairly painless vaccine and can be purchased at any local travel clinic for around $75 to $100 USD.
Don’t even consider booking your trip until you book your appointment with your travel clinic to receive your Yellow Fever vaccine. Most countries in South America, in particular Venezuela, require that you provide a record of your yellow fever vaccine. Yellow Fever, as the name implies, cause jaundice, recurrent fever, vomiting, and if left untreated, hemorrhaging and eventually death. This vital protection comes with a price tag, running at around $85 to $115 USD but can provide immunity up to 10 years and is worth the investment of a lifetime, literally.
Tetanus is a disease that is usually prevented by proper immunization starting at a young age in most parts of the world. Many travelers are already immunized against this bone-freezing disease that causes the skeletal system to lock-up and muscle spasms throughout the body. Infection occurs through contamination of an open wound, but some travel clinics say that you can contract the disease through a superficial cut or abrasion. In any case it’s a good idea to check your immunization history and re-vaccinate on the Tetanus shot before traveling to South America. This is also the cheapest of all the travel vaccines, averaging at about $45 to $65 USD.
Have you received any of these vaccines prior to your trip? Would you reconsider getting them?