Cholera Vaccine

Overview

The cholera vaccination was one of the largest leaps in preventative medicine and should be given to anyone at risk of contracting cholera.

First created in the late 1800s, the cholera vaccination is a concept that has been tweaked and perfected for reliability and safety. While oral forms of the vaccination are available, the intravenous form is still one of the most popular ways to administer the vaccine. A solution is injected under the skin, and the body then adjusts to the presence of new microbes. This protection is necessary for anyone that lives in a cholera-heavy area or is traveling to one with a high infection rate.

While there may be side effects to this vaccination, there is no other alternative that can accurately and reliably prevent cholera transmission. Your doctor may insist that you get a vaccination before travels, and for good reason. Cholera can be dangerous once it is contracted, so the unpleasant side effects may be less dangerous than the disease itself. That being said, if you experience persistent, painful, or troubling side effects after your cholera vaccination, contact your doctor or emergency health services immediately.

If you are traveling, be sure to tell your doctor whether or not you need the vaccination. It may be an important tool in making sure that you do not contract and spread cholera to any unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinating yourself against diseases like cholera not only protects you, but also anyone who cannot be vaccinated because of immunodeficiency. This concept, called 'herd immunity' is an important benefit to getting you and your loved ones vaccinated.

Conditions Treated:

  • Prevention of cholera

Type of Medication:

  • Vaccine (intravenous)

Side Effects:

This vaccine may come with side effects. Like said above, there is a high chance that your side effects will be less unpleasant than the actual disease itself, so the vaccine is recommended. Cholera can be contracted through infected water, and even 'safe' options like drinking water, bottled beverages, and caffeinated drinks can be infected with the bacteria (vibrio cholerae). It is best to protect you, your loved ones, and your traveling partners if you are going to an area that has a high rate of infection.

Here is a list of common, yet often harmless side effects to the cholera vaccine. If they persist or become painful, talk to your doctor.

  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Headache

Diarrhea may also occur, but this side effect should be monitored closely and reported if it becomes severe. Your doctor should stay informed if you experience any side effects that may be considered unusual, painful, or persistent. Stay hydrated after receiving this vaccine, and avoid travel or a few days afterward. You should not receive your vaccination right before your trip. You may need medical attention or a check-up afterward, and you cannot see your normal doctor when you are away.

If you experience fever, contact your doctor. This may be a sign that you are reacting adversely to the medication, and might need further treatment. If you experience allergy symptoms like hives, itching, closing of the airways, swelling of the mouth/face, or trouble breathing, contact your doctor or emergency services right away. Do not hesitate if you believe your life may be in danger.

These side effects may be a natural reaction to the vaccine. If you are troubled, ask your doctor about the vaccine to learn more. It is highly recommended that you get the vaccine to protect yourself and any immunodeficient people you come in contact with. Always trust your doctor on these matters, and talk to them if you plan on travelling to an area known for cholera infection.

Dosage:

The dosage for your cholera vaccine should only be determined by your doctor. Likewise, this vaccine should only be administered by a medical health professional. You should never have to use this vaccine yourself, nor should you have to use it on anyone else. This vaccine should be given with medical supervision, just in case something goes wrong and the patient requires immediate medical attention.

The dosage for a vaccine usually remains the same, so you will be receiving the same treatment as everyone else. If you have a child or have an immunodeficient disorder, talk to your doctor before receiving this vaccination. This vaccination is given intravenously. That means it is given with a needle under the skin. If you have a phobia or prefer to avoid needles, try talking to your doctor about the oral forms of this vaccination.

Major Drug Interactions:

This drug may have interactions with other medications, vaccines, or painkillers. You always need to tell your doctor exactly what you are taking, when you take it, and how much you take. This can give them an informed look at what is safe to take while receiving your cholera vaccination.

Your doctor may ask that you lower the dose of your other medication(s, or pause your treatment with those medications entirely. This may be unpleasant, but it is necessary for your safety. The cholera vaccine is an important layer of protection against the disease, and you will probably need it more than your other medications. If you have doubts or worries about this matter, talk to your doctor. They should be your first and most reliable source about your health.

If you are on chemotherapy or have a condition that makes you susceptible to infection, make sure to mention this to your doctor if they do not already know. You may require some extra attention before, during, or after your vaccination. This vaccination has proven to be very safe when it comes to children, the pregnant, and the elderly, along with the immunodeficient, so you will likely be fine. If you're concerned, talk to your doctor and bring a family member or friend along for emotional support.

There are a number of medications that interact with the cholera vaccine, including but not limited to:

  • Other vaccines, like the vaccine for yellow fever.
  • Painkillers, especially prescription-strength pain relievers
  • Antibiotics of any kind

These medications should be taken with caution, and only with your doctors' approval. Ignoring their requests to stop these medications may cause complications with your vaccination. Make sure to follow all their orders regarding your treatment. These vaccines are extremely safe when used responsibly, so don't create risk where there is little.

Talk to your doctor before receiving this vaccination, and make sure to stop taking all interacting medications a few days prior to your vaccination. You may require a waiting period between halting your medication(s) and receiving the vaccine. This gives your body adequate time to clear the drugs from your system. Some drugs have a longer half-life than others, so talk to your doctor.

Always tell your doctor which medications you are taking, whether they are prescription, over the counter, or supplemental. Do not take any interactive medications unless explicitly told to do so. Neglecting your doctors' orders may result in drug interaction. Interactions can aggravate side effects, reduce the effectiveness of your vaccination, or even harm you.

Warnings:

This vaccine has been proven to be very safe, especially when given to healthy adults. Like any medications, user discretion is advised. There are a number of warnings that may apply to you or a loved one, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you have concerns. The internet can be a useful tool to find information, but it can also be incorrect or biased. Make sure to research responsibly, and get a professional opinion if you're unsure.

If you have a child that requires a cholera vaccination, talk to your doctor beforehand. They may require a different treatment or dosage. Chances are, they can be vaccinated with the rest of your family, but you should never vaccinate a minor without being sure of their safety. The elderly and pregnant are also safe to take this vaccine and its boosters. This vaccine has also been used safely on breastfeeding mothers.

If you have had a previous allergy to a cholera vaccine or booster, tell your doctor. You may require a different form of vaccination, or you may be unable to get vaccinated. These are cases in which you should avoid the infection source entirely, and benefit from herd immunity. While these cases are rare, your allergies should not be ignored if they are severe. If you experience allergy symptoms such as hives, trouble breathing, rash, and swelling, contact your doctor. If you feel that your life is in danger, contact emergency medical services immediately.

Even if you have been vaccinated for cholera, talk to your doctor if you plan on traveling to a cholera-heavy area. You may require a booster vaccination before your trip, just to be safe. Always inform your doctor of your travel decisions, as you may also require other vaccinations. Some diseases are area-specific, so research your location beforehand and mention any concerns to your doctor.

Storage:

This vaccination should only be stored by the doctor. You should not bring this vaccination home, or try to administer it yourself. Storage specifications for this drug should be included in the label, which is written and provided by the manufacturer. This vaccine may require refrigeration or tinted bottles to protect it from light. Proper storage of this vaccination can be vital in making sure that it is effective during administration.

Neglecting to store the vaccine properly can prevent it from working properly. Make sure all proper precautions are taken when storing this medication, do not freeze it or expose it to heat. Doing so may affect its potency or effectiveness as a vaccine. This vaccine should only be given by trained medical professionals.

Summary:

Vaccines have become a normal and important part of how we live. There is an ongoing attempt to vaccinate anyone who is at risk of certain disease. The vaccination effort has encouraged herd immunity, and therefore protected millions of people against contracting diseases like chicken pox, measles, and cholera. While they remain somewhat controversial, vaccines have been proven time and time again to protect individuals against infections that could otherwise harm, cripple, or kill them.

For that reason, you should look into the cholera vaccine if you plan on travelling to a cholera-heavy area. Always do your research on where you are going, and talk to your doctor to make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations. You may need to update your vaccination list, receive an area-specific vaccine, or refill an extra prescription before you go.

Cholera, also known as vibrio cholerae, is a disease that is spread primarily through infected water and seafood. Even if you think you might be safe, drinking water, tap water, and even bottled and carbonated drinks can be contaminated with cholera. It is recommended that you get vaccinated, just to be safe. Cholera can become fatal, so it is for your own safety that you receive this vaccine.

Your doctor can tell you more about this vaccine, how it works, and what you need to do before receiving it. Always trust your doctor in these matters, and try to remember that the vaccine is much safer than the disease itself. This vaccine has been around since the late 1800s, and it has prevented many deadly cases of cholera.

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Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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