We'll be taking a big family vacation in a couple of months. Do my kids need to get any special immunizations before we go? – Doriana
If you plan to travel abroad or internationally it's possible that your children — and you — will need additional vaccinations. Different countries have different health risks and may require specific vaccines. For example, your family will need the yellow fever vaccine if you're traveling to tropical and sub-tropical areas in Africa or South America.
To find out which vaccines your family needs, ask your doctor or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for a list of recommended or required vaccinations (the site includes a section devoted to travelers' health that you can search by destination).
Most immunizations should be given at least 1 month before travel, so try to schedule a doctor's visit 4–6 weeks before your trip. This gives plenty of time for the vaccines to take effect, and allows for vaccines to be given over a period of days or weeks, if necessary. But even if you're leaving in less than 4 weeks, you should still make an appointment, as kids might still benefit from shots or medications.
Depending on your travel plans, your doctor may recommend that in addition to routine immunizations, you and/or your kids be vaccinated against: