Immunizations – Why Get Them Done?


Question: Why do you need to get your immunizations done before you set off on your amazing adventures around the world?

Answer: To prevent yourself from getting nasty diseases such as these:

Here’s a quick rundown of how you get them and what will happen if you’re too lazy to get your shots done, or you forget and you’re unlucky enough to contract any one of the below…

Hepatitis A

How do I get Hepatitis A?

You can get Hep A in a number of ways. These include eating food made by an infected person who didn’t wash their hands after going to the loo, drinking untreated water (e.g. tap water in some countries), eating food washed in untreated water and having unprotected sex with an infected person.

What happens if I get Hepatitis A?

If you’re unfortunate enough to get Hep A, here are some of the side effects:

– Fevers
– Muscle aches
– Headaches
– Liver pains
– You’ll feel sick
– Your chocolate brownies will be a whitish clay colour (yuck!)
– Worst of all you can get jaundice where your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow

You can recover from Hep A in a few weeks but during that time you’ll have to rest lots and you can’t drink alcohol (as will affect the liver). A doctor can treat the effects of Hep A with medicines but when you get your immunization done for this you’ll have nothing to worry about.


Hepatitis B

How do I get Hepatitis B?

You could get Hep B through contact with an infected person’s blood, semen, or other body fluid.

This means that you can get Hep B through having sex with someone that is infected. Other than Hep B there are many other nasty diseases you can pick up through unprotected sex. Don’t be a fool – wrap your tool.

You can also get Hep B by using an infected persons toothbrush or razor, and getting tattooed or pierced with unsterilized tools that were used on an infected person.

What happens if I get Hepatitis B?

The symptoms of Hep B are very similar to Hep A so you can get the following:

– Fevers
– Muscle aches
– Headaches
– Liver pains
– Loss of appetite (and weight loss)
– Jaundice – yellowing of skin and whites of eyes

If you contract Hep B, it will Increase the chance of getting liver cancer. You’ll also have to stop drinking alcohol too as you’ll have a bigger chance of getting cirrhosis (liver disease). The length of the Hep B can vary but it can last for life so get your shots done for this and as always DON’T have unprotected sex.



How do I get Malaria?

Bloody Mosquitos – literally! Female mosis  carry the virus and can infect you when bite you and suck your blood (when they bite you, they can actually inject blood into you, so if one of those pesky mosquitos is carrying Malaria you have a chance of getting the illness).

What happens if I get Malaria?

If you get Malaria, you can get any of the below symptoms…

– Fever
– Chills
– Headache
– Sweats
– Fatigue
– Nausea and vomiting

In some rare cases, you can get an impaired function of the brain that results in seizures and/or loss of consciousness. You certainly don’t want to be getting any of that so read up on the different drugs that you can take to prevent Malaria here .


Yes they do..... your blood


Yellow Fever


How do I get Yellow Fever?

I hate mosquitoes. Yes, yellow fever is another disease that is caused by mosquitoes biting and infecting you.

What happens if I get Yellow Fever?

You turn Yellow! Looking like a Simpsons character may sound cool, but with all the other side effects associated with Yellow Fever you’ll be wanting to get that immunization done with the travel doctor:

You get these symptoms to begin with…

– Fever
– Headache
– Muscle aches, particularly in your back and knees
– Nausea, vomiting or both
– Loss of appetite
– Dizziness
– Red ‘Ren and Stimpy’ eyes, face or tongue

And then it can move onto the more severe, even being life threatening…

– Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
– Abdominal pain and vomiting, sometimes of blood
– Bleeding from your nose, mouth and eyes
– Heart dysfunction (arrhythmia)
– Liver and kidney failure
– Brain dysfunction, including delirium, and seizures

With the many symptoms severe and even life threatening it is definitely worth getting the immunization for this (in some countries you have to get it done or they won’t let you in!). Remember to have that mosi repellent handy too.




How do I get Typhoid?

Eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water… the causes are similar to hep A in that untreated water can give you this. This can be through drinking water, ice or eating raw veg and shellfish that has been washed in contaminated water.

What happens if I get Typhoid?

Typhoid can last for up to 6 weeks and you can experience the following:

– Loss of appetite
– Stomach pains
– Headaches
– Aches and pains… can be anywhere.
– Fever, often up to 104 F! Hot, hot, hot.
– Intestinal bleeding
– Diarrhoea or constipation

What’s worse with this is that you can actually get relapses even if you fully recover. Good news though is that you should have this immunization under your belt already.



How do I get Tetanus?

Tetanus is an infection that follows an injury where you have a break in your skin. This can be via a puncture wound, cut or a scrape – the most common example being stepping on a rusty nail.

What happens if I get Tetanus?

Tetanus is best known for your muscles becoming rigid and getting spasms. However, there are other symptoms too, let’s take a quick look:

– Sore muscles
– Muscle cramps
– Difficulty swallowing
– Lockjaw – your face has spasms and it is difficult to use your jaw
– Muscle spasms – these are progressive and get worse as the illness continues

If Tetanus goes untreated you can die…worth getting a shot for this eh? As with Typhoid though, you should have it done already but if you haven’t you should get your bum down to the doc.


You don't want to freak out everytime you see a rusty nail on your travels do you?


Just providing more reasons for you to get these shots and immunizations under your belt before you go traveling.

Your travels WILL be amazing, let’s just make sure there is nothing to stop you maximizing your enjoyment!

Happy travels



Disclaimer – We are not doctors here at Aspiring Backpacker but we just want to inform you of the risks you put yourself at if you don’t get those immunizations done.  Always consult with your GP or travel doctor for immunization advice before heading off on your adventures.

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