Vaccinations, Allergies, and More

Vaccinations

IMR recommends that you discuss your health and prevention of acquired illness with your health care provider. IMR does not and will not make recommendations about vaccines, medications, or specific trips based on your health concerns. We ask that other team members, even if a qualified provider, not make recommendations to you as they may not be aware of your entire health history. Please do not ask the IMR office personnel to make recommendations regarding your health concerns as they are not qualified to do so.

  • IMR does not recommend specific vaccinations for any trip. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine what vaccinations are recommended based on your health history.
  • You may want to review the vaccinations recommended for your chosen country by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC has the most up-to-date recommendations for vaccinations, malaria risk, and traveler’s health warnings. You may access this information here and then search for specific countries: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list
  • Many healthcare facilities can provide vaccinations and common preventative travel medications. These include:
    • Your primary care physician
    • Travel clinics
    • Hospitals
    • Public health clinics
    • College health centers

Allergies

IMR strongly recommends that you take full precautions regarding insect, plant, and food allergens. If you have known allergic reactions, carry appropriate medications and life-saving measures at all time.

  • Inform your Chief Medical Officer and team leader prior to the start of the trip and upon arrival of any serious allergies.
  • You are responsible for monitoring and avoiding any known allergens.
  • IMR can not guarantee that a particular food or diet regimen can be met in the field. This includes vegetarian, gluten free, low sugar, or any other special dietary requirements.
  • IMR will make every effort to meet your needs. However, if you have special requirements separate from the group, you are responsible for ensuring your needs are met.
  • If you have a special dietary need, you are responsible to bring high quality snacks and/or foods that meet your needs.
  • Report any significant illness or allergic reaction to your Chief Medical Officer and team leader immediately.
  • Always ask if you are not sure if a food or plant may contain something you are allergic to.
  • If you have allergies with serious reactions, you should speak with your provider about the use of an epinephrine pen (“epipen”) or other emergency medication. You may be exposed to new foods, insects, plants, etc. on the trip and need to be prepared.
  • Fill out your Emergency Contact Information accurately and notify the IMR office of any known significant food or plant allergies that may result in the need for medical care.

Acquired Illness

Acquired illnesses include mosquito, water borne, and fecal borne diseases. Many of these diseases are preventable with proper precautions including mosquito repellant and nets, proper hygiene, and not consuming food or water that does not have a high degree of safety in preparation or purification.

IMR strongly recommends that you take full precautions regarding insect bites and food safety. This includes, but is not limited to, using insect repellent, treated clothing, and mosquito nets; and eating only food that is properly prepared and served. IMR takes your safety and the security of the IMR team very seriously. However, we cannot and do not guarantee your safety. There are inherent risks to travel and participating on medical teams.

The following information is taken from the CDC Yellow Book:

Mosquito Safety

  • Use repellents and other general protective measures against biting insects.
  • Utilize vaccines or medications to protect against vector borne diseases, including yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria.
  • No vaccines or medications exist for other mosquito borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and West Nile encephalitis or tick borne diseases such as Lyme borreliosis, tickborne encephalitis, and relapsing fever.
  • Ensure adequate protection during times of day when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya vector mosquitoes bite mainly from dawn to dusk.
  • Malaria, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis vector mosquitoes bite mainly from dusk to dawn.
  • Use common sense. Reapply repellents as protection wanes and mosquitoes start to bite.
  • For Ticks: Check yourself daily (your entire body) and remove attached ticks promptly.

General Protective Measures

Avoid outbreaks. Check www.cdc.gov/travel for current outbreaks. To optimize protection against mosquitoes and ticks and reduce the risk of diseases they transmit:

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks.
  • Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pretreated clothing.
  • Permethrin-treated clothing will retain repellent activity through multiple washes.
  • Repellents used on skin can also be applied to clothing but provide a shorter duration of protection than permethrin (same duration as on skin) and must be reapplied after laundering.
  • Apply lotion, liquid, or spray repellent to exposed skin.
  • Use mosquito nets that have been treated with with appropriate repellents.