It is easy to forget that traveling to different climates and environments can pose health issues that may not be present in your own country.
The list of vaccinations you need will be dependent on your itinerary however be sure to do your research and check exactly what you require. Be aware that on arrival to some countries you must present a valid vaccination certificate or you will be refused entry.
Considering your ‘Travel Health’ before you have even packed your backpack can seem a little pointless yet it is the preparations you make before you leave that are the most valuable.
At home you will have access to medical care and advice that is often limited or costly once you are abroad. Make the most of the opportunity to avoid any illness that may ruin your trip and plan ahead.
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
- Make an appointment with your Doctor as early as six months before you plan to leave and take along your itinerary for up to date advice on which vaccinations you will need. There are a number of factors including your age, health and the locations you intend to visit that determine whether or not you will need to be immunised. Be aware that some vaccines require a cooling off period before they become active in your system and you may be unable to travel to an affected area straight after your jab.
- Make sure your existing vaccinations for the UK are up to date, such as Hep A+B, polio and tetanus. If they’re not arrange booster jabs.
- In the UK many of the more ‘exotic’ immunisations are not covered by the NHS however talk with your GP about what they can provide. If you do need anything that isn’t provided by the NHS ring around for the best price. Private travel clinics often have different offers and discounts available for multiple jabs.
- Don’t put off getting immunised because you can’t afford it, consider it part of your travel cost as you would your flight. When you are sat in a remote hospital abroad the cost of the initial immunisation will seem insignificant when you are faced with a growing medical bill or the possibility of traveling hundreds of miles to find suitable treatment.
- If your itinerary is not confirmed discuss all your proposed destinations and routes with your GP. They may be able to reduce the number of jabs you need by suggesting areas to avoid.
- Know the life of your vaccinations. If you intend to travel for a long period of time be aware of the ‘shelf life’ of your coverage. Make sure you know if you need to get ‘top up’ jabs in the future or take additional preventative medication in known red zone areas. Be sure you take enough prescribed medication and additional supplies encase you extend your trip.
- Plan ahead. If you are traveling to an affected area know the symptoms of the affliction and try to avoid subjecting yourself to environments or activities that put you at risk. When you arrive at your destination familiarise yourself with the emergency protocol and location of medical assistance.
- Purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy and check what medical coverage you will receive. If you fall ill or need medical treatment abroad immediately call the insurance company and they will often suggest where best to receive your treatment no matter how remote you are.
- Check online with your local government for their advice regarding immunisation and foreign travel.
ADVICE FOR UK TRAVELLERS
Those in the UK can find out more detailed information about travel vaccinations including those available on the NHS and those you have to pay for by using the Vaccinations Guide.
The NHS Fit for Travel website is a valuable resource for everyone as it has vaccination information for every country in the world.
MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travelers Abroad) can help you find your nearest private travel health clinic.
Do you have any travel vaccination advice to share? Leave a comment below!