Advice for All Destinations
It is important to safeguard your health whenever you are travelling to a foreign country, regardless of destination. To ensure you are fully protected from possible infections and diseases, we strongly advise you to talk with your General Practitioner or Practise Nurse, who can asses your individual needs and can treat you accordingly. Some people may find they do not need to have vaccinations and may be prescribed tablets instead, whereas others may be advised to have a vaccination as a precaution due to an existing medical condition. The only way to make sure you are protected as much as possible is to visit your GP in person.
This would also be a good opportunity to discuss other factors that may be troubling you such as sun exposure and possible dangerous insects, as well as safe drinking water. Your GP should be able to put your mind at ease, or give you some pointers to keep you in good health, such as sticking to bottled water. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.
It is extremely important that you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medicinal andÂ hospital bills abroad be very costly; it makes far better sense to take out a good full insurance with a reputable company so you can have peace of mind that should an unfortunate accident happen, you are covered and can receive the level of care you need without needing to worry. Again, depending on your individual circumstances and health issues, you may need to take out a more extensive insurance than others. We advise you to speak with a number of reputable companies, before going with the one you feel more comfortable with.
Check out your exact holiday destination below for more in depth information and advice, specific to you.
For Travel Safety Advice you should visit the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
A worldwide list of clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is availble on the ISTM website.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: Diphtheria; Tetanus; Hepatitis A; Poliomyelitis; Typhoid; Yellow Fever.
- Vaccines sometimes advised: Rabies; Tuberculosis; Hepatitis B; Meningococcal Meningitis; Cholera.
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory from all travellers over 1 year of age.
- Confirm all current courses and boosters are up to date and you are still protected. This applies to those in specific groups have already been given certain vaccines because of risk exposure or complications (e.g. Hepatitis B given to health care workers; Influenza and Pneumococcal vaccines for the elderly).
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
- Tetanusis a serious infection of the nervous system. This occurs when bacteria infested soil, dirt or manure comes into contact with open cuts and grazes, thus infecting the skin. Treatment must be swift, as this can be fatal in some cases.
- Typhoid also known as typhoid fever, is caught through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain and constipation, and should be treated at the earliest opportunity with anti-biotics.
- Hepatitis A is also spread through contaminated food and water caused by poor sanitation and sewage disposal, and causes liver inflammation and jaundice. In areas in which hygiene is poor, it is advisable you seek immunisation against this.
- Poliomyelitisalso known as Polio, is a serious infection that is caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with human faeces (stools), contaminated food and water, or person-to-person contact and is characterised by flu like symptoms.
- Hepatitis B is spread through infected blood, contaminated needles and sexual intercourse. It affects the liver, in some cases resulting in liver failure, and can also cause jaundice, although many people have no symptoms at all. Vaccination is recommended.
- Influenza A (H1N1) is spread via airborne droplets among crowded populations and is extremely infectious. Travellers to the Southern Hemisphere during the influenza season (April to September) may be at risk of infection. Those who are travelling with tour groups or who are likely to in large crowds are at a greater risk of contracting the virus, and so should be careful to protect themselves. Handy items such as hand sanitizers may help.
- Tuberculosis is most commonly transmitted via droplet infection. It is contracted through inhaling tiny droplets of saliva from coughs or sneezes of an infected person. The BCG vaccination helps protect against contracting this. See http://www.chemistdirect.co.uk/bcg.php
- Diphtheria is also spread by droplet infection through close personal contact, and children are particularly susceptible to contracting this infection. Vaccination is advised if close contact with locals in high risk areas is likely.
- Rabies is spread through bites or licks on broken skin from an infected animal. Vaccination before you leave for your destination is highly advised as this infection is almost always fatal, and some sources abroad are not reliable. Even when pre-exposure vaccines have been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal bite.
- Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by drinking infected water or eating food contaminated with the infection. In severe cases, almost half of those that have not received medical attention will die so it is extremely important you seek medical advice if you are in doubt. Symptoms include severe diarrhoea, muscle cramps and vomiting.
- Meningococcal Meningitis is an combined infection of meningitis and septicaemia. It can cause fatalities in 10% of cases, and it is highly recommended you are vaccinated before travelling. This infection is passed on through infected cough or sneeze droplets, and is more common with those that are staying for longer than a month, back packers and those staying in rural areas.
- Yellow Feveris a viral infection spread by mosquito bites. It is a serious and often fatal illness. Symptoms include headaches, high temperature, vomiting and even bleeding.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria. For more information, check out http://www.chemistdirect.co.uk/malaria.php.
- Malaria precautions are essential in all areas, all year round.
- You can try to avoid mosquito bites by covering your body as much as possible, particularly after sunset when mosquitoes are more frequent. Opt for long trousers or long sleeved t-shirts wherever possible. We also advise you to use insect repellents over the entire body to try to deter all insects, and strongly advise you use a mosquito net while sleeping
- If you have any concerns that you may have contracted Malaria, do not hesitate in seeking medical assistance as soon as possible. Remember, Malaria can develop up to one year after exposure.
- Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets. Common prescribed tablets include Atovaquone/ Proguanil, Doxycycline or Mefloquine. If you have any questions or concerns about these items, please discuss these with your GP.
- If you are travelling to high risk, remote areas with few medical facilities, it may be worth carrying emergency malaria standby treatment.