Don’t Wait, Vaccinate

Going on a vacation is an exciting time for everybody. Your bags are packed, your tickets are booked and you can’t wait to get on that plane that will take you to your destination. All the excitement and anticipation, however, can often cause people to disregard one simple additional task, getting vaccinated.

You don’t need to get vaccinated whenever you travel, but international travel particularly, makes you vulnerable to getting afflicted by diseases and disorders that you might not have been vaccinated for previously because those vaccine-preventable diseases might be rare in your country. However, some types of international travel, especially to developing countries and rural areas, may have higher health risks. These risks depend on a number of things including where and when you are travelling, the age you are off, any specific health condition you suffer from and your vaccination history.

The World Health Organization defines a vaccine as a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. Some vaccinations are generally recommended while others are specifically required when travelling to a particular country. It is very important to gain knowledge about the vaccinations that you may be required to take, at least 4 weeks in advance. This will help the body to develop immunity and also some vaccinations may involve multiple doses spread over several weeks.

The first step to ensuring that you are properly vaccinated before your travels are to consult a specialist physician with your immunisation records. Vaccinations have a number of advantages that we generally tend to disregard. They help prevent diseases that can be easily passed onto those who aren’t vaccinated. We live in a time and age where people travel across the globe easily, and it is only easier for diseases to travel and pass on from person to person.

Vaccinations are as important for an individual’s personal health as is eating right and staying fit. Yet many people do not get themselves or their children vaccinated as recommended, causing them to be vulnerable to illnesses. Vaccinations can actually help prevent certain conditions, like breast cancer, HIV/AIDS etc. A number of people lose their lives each year to such vaccine-preventable diseases. Pregnant women, infants and adults with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases during travel. These complications can include long-term illness, hospitalisation, and even death. Immunisation is considered one of the greatest public health achievements and experts agree that immunisation is key to staying healthy.

Vaccinations are not just for an individual’s better health, it is about staying healthy yourself and protecting a community. Travel vaccinations are particularly necessary because you are likely to develop health issues that you didn’t have at home in foreign lands.

It is however not guaranteed that a vaccination will protect you from a disease and you will not develop a particular disease because of the vaccination. However, following a healthy travel routine can help to stay away and safe from infectious diseases. A shot that lasts less than 10 seconds could save you from pain and ill health, and make your trip one remember. It is of utmost importance to pack good health for the trip.

 

Dr.Samer Nours Alfil 

Specialist General Medicine 

Aster Clinic, Al Barsha 

Samer-Nours-Alfil - Barsha

*Aster Clinics are running special vaccination campaigns for Umrah. For more information and appointments, visit – http://asterclinic.ae/vaccination/

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Infections and their Prevention

What is an Infection?

An infection is an invasion of an organism’s body tissue by disease causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of the host tissues to these organisms and the toxins that they produce.

Infectious diseases, also known as transmissible diseases or communicable diseases, are illnesses resulting from an infection. Despite there being a variety of medicines present to treat the different form of infections; infectious diseases have resulted in the death of more people worldwide than any other single cause.

Causes of an Infection:

An infection is caused when a person is exposed to infectious agents. This exposure may occur directly, through the touching, eating, drinking or breathing of a germ covered substance. Or indirectly, when an agent is transmitted through an insect or animal bite. Listed below are the different types of infectious agents:

  • Bacteria. These single celled organisms multiply quickly and are responsible for illnesses such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, and tuberculosis.
  • Viruses. Even smaller than bacteria, viruses can cause a multitude of infectious diseases — ranging from the common cold to AIDS. A virus spreads an infection because of its ability to use host’s cells to multiply.
  • Fungi: Are biologically primitive plants that cause diseases such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.
  • Are single celled organisms that may be transmitted through a host of avenues, the most common being through the bite of an insect?

 

Symptoms of an Infection

 Each infectious disease has its own set of signs and symptoms that may manifest themselves mildly or severely, depending on the immunity of the person who is infected. However, there are general signs and symptoms common to a number of infections which include, but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing

 

Infection Prevention:

Getting an infection can be a painful and tedious process, resulting in one’s ill health and an inability to perform even simple everyday tasks. Despite the ease with which agents are spread, and the detrimental effect that they can have on a person’s health, there are ways in which you can keep yourself germ free. A series of simple steps, when performed habitually can not only reduce your chances of getting an infection; but also prevent you from spreading one as an asymptomatic carrier.

  • Washing your hands. This is especially important before and after preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet.
  • Getting vaccinated. Immunization can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases. Make sure to keep up to date on your recommended vaccinations, as well as your children’s.
  • Staying home when ill. Don’t go to work if you are vomiting, have diarrhea or have a fever. Don’t send your child to school if he or she has these signs and symptoms, either.
  • Preparing food safely.Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. Cook foods to the proper temperature using a food thermometer to check for doneness. For ground meats, that means at least 71 C (160 F); for poultry, 74 C (165 F); and for most other meat, at least 63 C (145 F).
  • Not sharing personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb, and razor. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or dining utensils.
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