Before travel, make sure your child is up to date on all routine shots. These include tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, and mumps. It is also good to have a flu shot if your child is traveling to a part of the world where it is flu season. Your child may also need a pneumococcal shot to protect against pneumococcal infection.
When traveling to foreign countries, your child may be exposed to other infections. Many of these illnesses can be prevented with vaccines or medicines. At least 2 months before travel, tell your healthcare provider where your child plans to travel. Some vaccines need to be started a month before your child leaves. Your provider will let you know what shots or medicines your child needs. This decision will be based on:
Also find out which countries require proof of vaccination before they will let your child visit.
More than a dozen vaccines are available to prevent diseases your child might be exposed to during travel to other parts of the world. Your child might need vaccines against:
This is just a partial list. It depends on where your child is traveling and what outbreaks there are when your child travels.
If your child is going to a part of the world where malaria is common, such as Africa, Asia, or South America, your child may need to take medicine to prevent malaria. Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease spread by mosquito bites. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a medicine that your child will start taking up to 2 weeks before you leave. Your child will keep taking the medicine while traveling and up to 4 weeks after leaving the area.
With possibility of a Zika virus vaccine being developed, ask your child’s healthcare provider if there is anything available and recommended for your travel areas.
Check with your healthcare provider or your local health department for information. You can get detailed, up-to-date travel advice for specific countries and diseases from: