When Traveling, Seniors Require Health Precautions

If you, or your elderly parents, are planning on traveling out of the country, getting your plane tickets and packing your suitcase may not be enough.

Travel medicine experts strongly recommend that you don’t leave home without also taking the proper health precautions.

For seniors planning on travel to certain locations, you should see a travel doctor 4-6 weeks prior to departure. A few years ago, I traveled to Africa, and the required immunizations were rather easy to acquire. This lead time is important because if immunizations are recommended, the body needs time to react and to form antibodies to the vaccines. For example, while the Yellow Fever vaccine needs to be given a minimum of ten days prior to entering a country that requires it, the Japanese encephalitis vaccine series and rabies pre-exposure series require 2-3 vaccines given over three to four weeks. Remember…doctors are busy.  And there are limits to what they can do to protect elderly travelers who wait until the last minute to see them.

Taking precautions is not only important when traveling to countries in the developing world. Certain health issues can also present dangers in countries that are generally not viewed as part of the developing world – such as Israel, where Hepatitis A can be a problem, or the Dominican Republic. Precaution is obviously necessary in countries such as Pakistan or Nigeria, which are still combatting polio.


– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com