Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Do you have to get vaccinations before going to Europe?"
I know that when people go to certain countries they have to get vaccines and immunized. Do you have to do this if you're going to Europe? Could my general practitioner take care of something like this and how long before I leave should I see him?
It is always a good idea to check with your primary care doctor or your general practitioner before travel. You are right that many areas of the world require vaccinations or other medications (such as medications to prevent malaria), and your general practitioner can definitely help with this issue. I would recommend that you see them at least several months before you leave in order to get the most benefit from the visit; however, even if you see them just a few weeks before you leave,it should still be worthwhile. For most countries in Europe, you shouldn't really need any vaccinations. Rates of infectious disease in most of Europe are quite low and don't pose a major risk to the traveler. There are some exceptions to this rule; for example some of the less well developed countries in Eastern Europe may require vaccinations. In addition to talking to your doctor another great resource that is available to you is the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Travel Preparation website which you should be able to find online quite easily. On this website, you can search for the country where you will be traveling, and you will find a list of all recommended vaccines and medications for traveling there.
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