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Yellow fever is a contagious illness caused by the yellow fever virus, transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. The different yellow fever immunization methods involve receiving a live vaccine which preps the immune system and helps build defenses to protect against the full-blown virus. Many times people choose to prevent the illness, as well, by avoiding places that are infested with various insects and by protecting their skin from mosquito bites. It is recommended that when looking at different yellow fever immunization avenues to combine medical advice, such as getting the vaccine, with taking precautions to avoid insect contact.
It is often required, or at least strongly suggested, that an individual who is traveling receives yellow fever immunization through the yellow fever vaccination. Yellow fever immunization methods which use vaccination are not recommended to infants younger than 9 months old and should not be used for people over 65 years old. There is no alternative to yellow fever immunization other than taking precautions against developing the disease, such as wearing protective clothing and strengthening the immune system. A small number of the population who are sensitive to needles or are opposed to vaccination may receive a medical wavier to help them leave a country without being vaccinated.
Alternatives to yellow fever vaccination include taking precautions that will help avoid contracting the illness, such as staying away from tall grasses or natural areas that contain mosquitoes. Also, protective clothing is a must, such as long sleeves and pants, as well as long socks and hand and face protection, all of which will help keep mosquitoes and other insects away from the skin. One may also try to increase the immune system by exercising and eating a diet high in vitamin C, as these two things have been shown to increase the function of the immune system in case of attack. It is not necessary to limit or avoid any contact with infected persons, as yellow fever is not contagious and doesn't travel from person to person.
The yellow fever immunization method that uses vaccination is only available through injection, and no other method is available for full protection against the virus. Other methods of immunization, such as through pill form, have been suggested but not developed. Most yellow fever immunization policies disregard alternative precautions for the yellow fever virus, making it very difficult to travel overseas without a medical wavier. Although these alternative precautions have not been proven to be any less effective than the actual vaccination, they are still seen as a poor substitute.