If you're traveling this holiday season, you may want to get your flu shot

Posted at 11:29 AM, Dec 16, 2018

LAS VEGAS — How many times have you heard someone say they went on a trip and got sick while away from home or as soon as they got back? Well, it's not your imagination, and there are ways to avoid it.

Grace Vargas has traveled all over the world in the U.S. Air Force: Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic.

And she had no choice but to take every precaution in order to stay healthy.

"They just tell you, you're going and take this pill or get this shot,” Vargas said.

Dr. Jonathan Baktari is the medical director at e7 Health. They specialize in travel medicine. He said even if you aren't a world traveler there's one shot you should definitely get.

"Statistically speaking, the most common illness you will get traveling will be the flu,” Baktari said.

While a flu shot is probably all most people need heading to grandma's house, international travel has specific guidelines laid out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We assess their risk based on where they are going and what they are doing,” said Baktari. "Like which part of Bangkok or Thailand are you going to be in? What do you hope to be doing? Are you going to be in meetings? Or will you be out hiking in the jungle?"

Getting sick from germs at work or school is common, but Baktari said being away from your daily routine and in tight crowded spaces — like airports and planes — increases your chances of coming down with something.

"A lot of us in our daily lives simply come home. And we see our family,” he said. “But when traveling, that is when you get the exposure to viruses and other illnesses."

To get the full benefit of how any vaccine works you have to plan ahead.

“The amount of antibodies will go up the first three to six months,” Baktari said. ”We get a lot of people who literally show up the week before they are about to go to Thailand and want us to protect them.”