When we talk about travel health, the first thing that comes to mind are vaccinations. However, there are a lot more to consider. Here are three easy steps to help guide you:
Travel vaccines are an excellent way to prevent catching any nasty diseases found in other parts of the world. What vaccines you will need will depend on what part of the world you are travelling to, what activities you will be undertaking and your duration of stay. In some instances, it may be a requirement for you to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before you enter the country.
It is possible to get some of the vaccines at your local GP practice, as a matter of fact, your childhood vaccines will protect you against some of the diseases. Alternatively, you can have your vaccines administered at a private clinic/travel vaccination pharmacy.
It is recommended that you book your travel appointment at least eight weeks before you travel. There are also a few things you should consider before attending your appointment, as it will give you an idea of what vaccines you may need:
- the country or countries you're visiting – some diseases are more common in certain parts of the world and less common in others
- when you're travelling – some diseases are more common at certain times of the year; for example, during the rainy season
- where you're staying – in general, you'll be more at risk of disease in rural areas than in urban areas, and if you're backpacking and staying in hostels or camping, you may be more at risk than if you were on a package holiday and staying in a hotel
- how long you'll be staying – the longer your stay, the greater your risk of being exposed to diseases
- your age and health – some people may be more vulnerable to infection than others, while some vaccinations can't be given to people with certain medical conditions
- what you'll be doing during your stay – for example, whether you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors, such as trekking or working in rural areas
- if you're working as an aid worker – you may come into contact with more diseases if you're working in a refugee camp or helping after a natural disaster
- if you're working in a medical setting – for example, a doctor or nurse may require additional vaccinations
- if you are in contact with animals – in this case, you may be more at risk of getting diseases spread by animals, such as rabies
Some countries will also have a risk of malaria in which case prophylactic oral treatment is recommended.
Please note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning a pregnancy, are immunocompromised or have any existing/genetic disorder, please speak to our pharmacist for more advice.
Ensure you have all the immunization certificates if required by the country you are visiting.
Take a first aid kit with you.
Ensure you have protection against sun exposure, the heat and humidity (please refer to our previous blogs for more information).
If you are travelling to an area with mosquitos, then it is essential that you take an insect repellent. Please speak to our pharmacist for more specific advice.
During some trips, you may also need to take water purification tablets to ensure the water is clean.
Be prepared for traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning; there are medicines and hydration sachets that you can take with you - should you need them. Please speak to our pharmacist for more advice.
During some trips you may also need to take medicines for altitude sickness or travel sickness.