Worldwide Travel Immunisations Information

Guidelines on vaccinations for safer travel

Travelling abroad to exotic or far flung destinations for our holidays has become commonplace. Gap year travellers and Backpackers are, in general, usually planning on visiting more than one destination and often for longer periods of time.

  • Allow enough time for vaccinations to become effective

Multiple vaccinations can be planned well in advance, allowing the required time for each immunisation to take effect. The nature of your travel and the conditions under which you will be staying all have a bearing on the types of vaccinations you should consider when planning a trip.

If you are staying in top hotels and not in a tent or local boarding house you will still need to ensure you are vaccinated against diseases as many are insect borne such as malaria. The threat of diseases from contaminated food and drink is still a consideration, even if you are travelling five star and care should always be taken to abide by the guidelines regarding drinking water.

  • Simple precautions can make all the difference

Hepatitis A is one such common disease which can be contracted through food and drink. Fortunately there are vaccines easily available which are affective from two weeks. Typhoid fever is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The vaccine for this is around 50 to 70 percent successful in preventing the disease, care taken to ensure that only clean water and food are consumed is essential.

  • Ensure you are protected from mosquitoe bites

Malaria is a real threat to all travellers as it is very wide spread and can be a fatal disease and the symptoms, vomiting, fever and headaches, will become apparant approximately ten to fifteen days after being bitten. Tablets for this disease should be taken at least three weeks before your departure; there are no vaccinations available for the prevention of Malaria. Mosquitoes spread the disease along with yellow fever and dengue fever.

Although mosquitoes are more aggressive during the evenings, they are still a threat before sunset and the routine application of repellents onto skin to avoid being bitten through clothing at all times is advisable. Sleeping under a mosquito repellent net and burning coils or heating impregnated tablets are essential to avoid being bitten. Anti-Malaria tablets must also be taken for up to four weeks after you have returned home, depending on their usage.

You should arrange to see your doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip, this will allow time for the vaccines to take effect. If however your trip is less than 4 weeks away still see your doctor who may be able to give you alternative protections.

  • Avoid contact with stray animals

Rabies has an incubation period that is hard to pin down. Usually it is around 20 to 60 days but in some case can become apparant from from 5 days to anything up to a year. The symptoms of the virus include headache, fever and a general weakness. The infected area can also show signs of umbness or tingling. Rabies progresses to muscle spasms, convulsions and a fear of water. There is no specific treatment for rabies, all travellers should consider vaccinating against the disease if travelling in areas affected by the virus.

  • Not all vaccinations are free of charge

Some immunisations are free under the NHS and for others there may be a charge. Some anti malaria tablets are available from your pharmacist without a prescription and these should be taken a week before departure.

For a detailed explanation of all of the immunisations for each area of worldwide travel, visit here Fit to travelFit For Travel from the NHS.