When you go on a long trek or hike in a remote area, you never quite know what you'll be exposed to. You may come across anything from rattlesnakes to swarms of mosquitoes. You'll probably also come across some infectious pathogens. However, if you're immunized against these pathogens, then you're unlikely to have a problem. Here are some key immunizations to consider getting before you head out on your remote trek.
Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by the species Botulinum tetani. This bacterium likes to live in oxygen-poor environments, such as down in the soil. If you become injured on your hike, especially with a deep or puncture wound, you might have to worry about having a tetanus infection. The illness causes extreme joint stiffness and fever.
Most people are given tetanus shots regularly throughout their lives. A 10-year booster is usually recommended, so if it has been more than 10 years since your last tetanus shot, make sure you get one before you head off on your hike. If you are nearing your 10-year mark, talk to your doctor. They may think it's safest for you to have a tetanus booster a bit early, just to be safe.
If you are traveling anywhere that mosquitoes live, then you'll want to be vaccinated for yellow fever. Although yellow fever is common, most people do not realize how serious it can be. It's often deadly, especially if you happen to catch it while out in the middle of nowhere, far away from hospitals. High fevers, chills, confusion, jaundice, and profuse sweating are key symptoms.
Some remote hiking destinations may require you to show proof of a yellow fever vaccine before you're permitted to hike. The vaccine does take a few weeks to take effect, so make sure you schedule it well in advance of your hike.
Cholera is a bacterial disease spread in water. If you have good water sanitizer with you on your hike, you shouldn't have to worry too much about cholera. However, there is always a chance you'll lose your sanitizer and have to drink straight from a stream, which could expose you to cholera. Getting vaccinated for this disease is simply a smart idea. If you were to catch cholera, you'd develop severe gastrointestinal distress and dehydration, which is not something you want during a remote hike.
Talk to your doctor about these and other immunizations that are important before a remote hike. Your doctor may have additional recommendations, depending on your specific destination