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Doctor Calling – our weekly column by Dr Miles Langdon

BE PREPARED: It is important to remember that in some cases the vaccine must be administered well before trip.

BE PREPARED: It is important to remember that in some cases the vaccine must be administered well before trip.

Holiday season is upon us and although we have seen rather a lot of sunshine over the past few weeks, you may have a sunny trip abroad to look forward to.

If you’re planning to travel outside the UK, I’d recommend 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 on this website – NHS Fit for Travel. Some countries require you to have a vaccination certificate as proof of vaccinations – 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), 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.

Here are a few things to consider when planning your trip and travel vaccinations:

n Are you travelling during their rainy season? If so, you may find that some diseases are more prevalent due to the increased humidity.

n 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.

In many cases, it is unlikely that a vaccine given while pregnant or breastfeeding will cause problems for the baby. 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.

 

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