Traveling This Summer? Make Sure Your Kids Are Up-to-Date On Their Immunizations

You may not think to track your kids’ vaccinations until school begins. After all, school brings lots of contact with other people — and lots of contact with germs. But summer can pose an equal threat, especially if you’re traveling. Time traveling on planes, on trains, and at tourist locations can put you and your kids in contact with lots of potential contagions.

At Joshua Medical Group, we recommend you get your kids up-to-date on their immunizations now, before you travel. Plus you’ll miss the rush of all those parents who still stick to the back-to-school vaccine schedule.

What vaccine boosters do my kids need?

Kids need a booster of some vaccines they received as babies around the age of 4 to 6 years old. DTap (diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough,) MMR (measles, mumps, rubella,) IPV (polio), and varicella should be updated. At age 11, kids benefit from Tdap, another boost for DTap.

New vaccines

Older kids — ages 11-12 — benefit from the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). This vaccine keeps your children safe from developing some types of cancer and genital warts when they do become sexually active. Your kids aren’t going to need this vaccine for vacation, but you should consider getting the vaccine when you’re updating your tween’s immunizations.

Meningococcal-conjugate vaccine protects your kids from bacterial meningitis, which is incredibly contagious and potentially fatal. A booster benefits 16-year-olds.

Traveling abroad

Talk to Dr. Gonzalo Martinez here at Joshua Medical Group if you plan to bring your kids out of the country for a fun vacation. Travel abroad doesn’t always require special immunizations, but it’s a good idea to check before you go.

HepA, for example, is a smart precaution if you’re traveling to a place where hepatitis A is common. Kids younger than 11 may need a meningococcal vaccine if they’re traveling abroad, too.

Depending on where you’re going, you may also want to get your kids the following vaccines:

Kids can also contract malaria. If you’re traveling somewhere where malaria is a risk, talk to Dr. Martinez about anti-malarial drugs.

Plan to get these immunizations at least one month before you travel so they have time to take effect. It’s important to note that some immunizations require multiple doses, too.

Hold off in certain cases

If your child is sick, avoid having them immunized. And if your child has had a severe allergic reaction to vaccines in the past, don’t try again. Talk to Dr. Martinez about other means of protecting their health.

If you’re leaving soon and missed the one-month pre-trip vaccine window, you still should get your child vaccinated. Even if the vaccine isn’t in full effect during travel, it can still offer some protection, which may be valuable in protecting their health.

Possible post-vaccine side effects

Even a booster of immunizations can cause a mild fever, soreness at the injection site, and swelling. Your child may benefit from acetaminophen or ibuprofen; ask Dr. Martinez if this is an appropriate way to deal with any discomfort. You can apply a warm cloth to the injection site and have your child move the arm to relieve pain.

To check your child’s compliance with immunizations, consult us Joshua Medical Group by using our online booking tool or calling the office at 661-231-8907. We can help you get up-to-date so you can travel without worrying about major illness.

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