The Ukraine is a country that is steeped in history and culture, and attracts tens of thousands of U.S. citizens each year. It is also the 8th most popular travel destination for Americans in Europe. With the Black Sea to the south, Russia to the north and bordering Romania as well, Ukraine can be an exciting and enlightening place to explore, but it does come with some risk.
You should be aware that many of the diseases in our own country that are easily under control here are not in other areas of the world. The Ukraine is no exception. There are no routine vaccinations for babies and children, and treatment is not always available. You will want to check your immunization history and verify whether or not you need any boosters or initial inoculations for diseases affecting this region.
If your travel itinerary might take you outside the borders of the Ukraine, mention this to your healthcare provider. Preventative treatments for common diseases that affect Eastern Europe may be available to you. Plan to get all your booster shots and final vaccination shots to complete a series 4-6 weeks in advance of your departure. Many common inoculations need time to infuse with your system and trigger an immune response in order to become fully effective. Even if you are unable to obtain the necessary shots within this time frame, this is no excuse to not get them. Some of the preventative therapies may be partially effective by the time you depart, and some protection is better than none.
If you aren’t up to date on measles, mumps, and rubella, this would be the logical place to start. Also important is to make sure you are immunized from polio, tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria. These diseases are easier to get than you might think, and will ruin an otherwise enjoyable time.
Hepatitis A is another easy disease to contract if you aren’t immunized. It is primarily transmitted through food and water, or close personal contact with someone who is infected. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your “Americanized” hotel is safe from Hep A. It is better to be immunized.
Similarly, Hepatitis B is transmitted easily through human contact and exposure through bodily fluids. If you think you may have sex with anyone local, you could be putting yourself at risk if you aren’t vaccinated. Another area where you could come in contact with the virus is a hospital. No one wants to think about being hurt abroad, but if it happens and you need treatment, you’ll want to be sure your Hep B is up to date.
Rabies is also a concern if you are an outdoor enthusiast. You may want to hike, mountain climb, go spelunking, or some other activity that may put you in contact with wild animals. The rabies virus is generally carried by dogs, cats, and bats, but even so called, “cute” animals account for many of the rabies-related cases reported each year. If you plan to visit an area where wild or stray animals roam, or you find yourself in a small town, you will want to be sure you are protected from bites and scratches.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.
To learn about how you can avoid injury and illness abroad, or to set up an inoculation appointment, contact us today.