Several months before your next international trip you’ll want to make sure you are properly vaccinated and prepared for the particularly nasty bugs we don’t have to worry about much here in the USA. In general terms the number of vaccines you’ll need will go up as the standard of living goes down in the countries you are visiting.
[CLICK HERE FOR cdc.gov Travelers Health Section]
On my February trip to Southeast Asia I got a DPT booster shot, took Typhus pills (which confer longer term immunity than shots) and got the standard “Hepatitis A” shots – all are illnesses that are very serious. Typhus and Hepatitis A come from food or poor sanitation. I learned late, after being told it was not needed, that Hepatitis B is also advisable in most cases.
I did choose not to take anti-malarial drugs, somewhat against the advice of the county health department (which here in Southern Oregon is the authority for international travel medical issues). This was mostly because I knew I would not be traveling in areas of high malaria incidence. Also, there are some nasty side effects from these drugs and other issues and it seemed few experienced travelers take them for big cities in SE Asia. Anti Malarials are certainly advisable for parts of SE Asia and for much of Africa.
I do have friends who travel a lot in the developing world but do NOT get many vaccines. My feeling is that they are simply lucky, and dodging these disease bullets is a big mistake.
In any case this is a very important consideration in your travels. Vaccinations – don’t leave home without ‘em!