The chances are if you like to holiday close to home, you won’t need any extra vaccinations before you travel. Most European travel destinations require no vaccinations if you’ve had everything you should have as a child. However if you like to adventure to different continents, then you should always check what you need to protect your health while travelling. Some parts of the world require top ups or new vaccinations, while for others you may need to take a course of tablets to prevent foreign diseases.
The best thing to do as soon as you have booked your exotic holiday is to make an appointment with a travel clinic or consult your GP online. They will be able to advise the right course of action depending on your destination and length of stay, and book you in for any required vaccinations. Here is a quick guide to some of the vaccinations you may need.
Hepatitis A and B
If you have lived in the UK as a child you should have had a Hepatitis A vaccine, but a booster may be recommended. You should also consider a vaccination for Hepatitis B, if you are staying somewhere for a long period of time as risk increases.
You may be at risk of diphtheria if you will be mixing with locals in overcrowded living conditions, for example in a city or if you are volunteering in a poor country. Protection against this is offered as a vaccination.
This vaccination will stop you contracting typhoid through contaminated food and drink. It is a risk in areas with inadequate sanitation.
Malaria is a disease which is carried by mosquitoes and transmitted to humans through bites. It is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, and there is no vaccination against it. The best way to protect yourself while travelling in a malaria risk area is to avoid insect bites. There are also a range of antimalarial tablets on offer, which you can ask your doctor or nurse about.
You can also contract other diseases from mosquitoes, such as dengue fever. This is why it’s really important to take precautions while travelling, such as covering up in the evenings and sleeping under a mosquito net.
You’ve probably heard about the Zika virus this year, which is now active in multiple countries. Zika is also transmitted by mosquitoes, and there is no current vaccination. The only way to protect against Zika is to avoid bites.
Always consult a travel health professional who will be able to advise on all vaccinations and health precautions.