Travel Healthy – Top Tips
Travel overseas for business or pleasure may mean spending some weeks away from home. The longer the time spent away, the higher the chance of picking up an infection. People with family overseas often believe they have so-called ‘natural immunity’ to diseases common in their country of origin. This is not true. Immunity that is passed on from mother to baby lasts just a few weeks or months.
Travellers of all backgrounds and nationalities should consider the doctor’s surgery or travel clinic as a second stop after the travel agent.
- Most vaccines need to be given a month or more before departure
- Some vaccines need follow-up doses called boosters to provide long-term protection
- Most surgeries offer advice and the most commonly needed vaccinations free of charge.
Top Tips While You are Abroad
- Dehydration can be a problem – drink plenty of purified water and fluids
- Do not drink, clean your teeth, wash salads or make ice from local water
- Always drink boiled, purified or bottled water – check the seal on the bottle
- Choose recently cooked hot foods, rather than salads
- Remember “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!”
- Avoid too much sun exposure, use the appropriate strength sun block suiting your skin-type
- Use insect repellents and take antihistamine tablets / cream to treat bites
- Casual sex can lead to infections such as HIV or hepatitis B so always use a condom
A healthy trip should mean a happy trip, so remember to look after your health and find out about vaccinations to help to ensure you’re protected.
Diphtheria is an infectious disease spread through coughs and sneezes. The risk is high in countries such as Russia and Ukraine. A vaccine is now available to help provide protection against both diphtheria and tetanus.
Hepatitis A is passed through contaminated food and water. It is found in countries where sanitation and hygiene standards are poor. A simple injection followed by a booster may provide long term protection.
Hepatitis B is mostly transmitted through sex with an infected person or via blood contamination. Vaccination is recommended for those whose lifestyle or work may put them at risk and for those who may need medical treatment whilst away.
Japanese Encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes during the rainy seasons in the Far East and SE Asia. Vaccination is recommended for travellers who are staying in high risk areas for a month or more.
Meningococcal is spread through direct contact with an infected person or through their coughs and sneezes. Vaccines exist against A,C,W & Y strains to help protect travellers to Africa and the Middle East.
Polio is a viral infection that can lead to paralysis. It is still a risk in some developing countries. Regular travellers should have up-to-date polio vaccination.
Rabies is a fatal disease and is contracted from the bite of a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered if travelling to rural areas of developing countries.
Tetanus is contracted when spores of the disease in the soil enter the body through cuts and scratches. This risk exists everywhere in the world so keep your protection
Tick-borne Encephalitis is spread by ticks in forest areas and is common in Northern and Central Europe.
Typhoid is passed through contaminated food and water and is a high risk in countries where sanitation and hygiene standards are poor. A single injection of typhoid vaccine can provide protection for three years.
Yellow Fever is spread by mosquitoes. Some countries deny entry without proof of vaccination at least ten days prior to entry and no more than ten years previously.
Malaria is a serious disease spread by mosquitoes and is a risk in many warm climate countries. There is no vaccine against malaria and advice on malaria precautions should be obtained from your doctor or practice nurse. Malaria recommendations are not included in this guide.
On your return – Don’t Forget…
Check when your booster vaccinations are due and don’t forget to have them! And if you develop any signs of a fever, visit your doctor.