Do some research; don’t risk your family’s health

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DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill

If you are planning to travel outside the UK during the summer holiday period, it’s recommended that you seek advice regarding any vaccinations you or your family may need well ahead of the trip.

You can find out which vaccinations are necessary or recommended for the areas you will be visiting using the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Some countries require you to have a vaccination certificate as proof of vaccinations, so make sure your GP is clear if this is needed for your trip.

If you are visiting an area that requires a vaccination, make an appointment with your GP surgery, or in some cases they may advise you to book in with a local private clinic.

It is important to remember that, in some cases, the vaccine must be administered a number of weeks in advance of the trip (sometimes up to eight weeks), so plan ahead to make sure you are not at risk.

Some common travel vaccinations include: diphtheria, polio and tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A (including when combined with hepatitis B) and cholera, rabies, tuberculosis (TB) and yellow fever.

Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres. The NaTHNaC website can help you find where to get a yellow fever vaccination.

It is also important to establish if you are you travelling during a rainy season.

If so, you may find that some diseases are more prevalent due to the increased humidity. What type of accommodation are you staying in? Generally speaking, you may find you are more at risk backpacking around rural areas than within urban areas or a hotel complex.

Those with a weak immune system will be more vulnerable to infection than others.

Additionally, some vaccinations cannot be given to people with certain medical conditions.

In many cases, it is unlikely that a vaccine given while pregnant or breastfeeding will cause problems for the baby. Your GP will be able to give you further advice.

If you are travelling to countries in northern and central Europe, North America or Australia, it is unlikely that you will need to have any vaccinations.

Almost one-in-four UK holidaymakers don’t get travel vaccinations despite travelling to areas that have life-threatening infectious diseases – don’t risk your or your family’s health, do some research and find out what you will need to stay safe while travelling abroad this summer.

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