Travelling abroad can expose you to additional health risks or infectious diseases, it is essential to take precautions to minimise the threat of illness. It is advisable to research the countries you are visiting before you travel and also seek advice from your medical practitioner. Purchasing travel insurance
is also highly recommended in the event you require hospital or medical care.
Certain countries require immunisations or vaccinations before you travel and it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct travel shots before your departure. In many cases you will be expected to present your International Certificate of Vaccination before being allowed entry.
Some travel vaccines are available free on the NHS while others you will have to pay for privately. Cholera, tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and the combined hepatitis A and B vaccine, polio and diphtheria are usually free. Check the NHS vaccinations guide
for further information and advice.
Common vaccines include:
Hepatitis A and B
You should be aware that some courses of vaccinations need to be started a few months before you travel. Malaria tablets are recommended for a number of destinations including Asia, Mexico, Africa and South America.
If you have a condition that requires medication ensure that you take an adequate amount of your prescription with you for your entire trip. Consider bringing extra in case of travel delays as getting prescription medication abroad could prove difficult. It is also advisable to check with your airline before bringing certain medication onboard as you may need a letter from your doctor if you require injections, for example if you are diabetic.
Travel or motion sickness affects a large number of travellers and while symptoms may be mild in some people for others it can be incapacitating. There are steps you can take to help reduce or eliminate travel sickness including:
Motion sickness medications – Ensure you seek medical advice before taking any medications and only take the recommended amount.
Choosing seats in the centre of the boat, in the front seat of the car or over the wings of a plane.
Avoid reading while travelling and try to focus on something in the distance.
Pressure point bracelets.
Travelling during pregnancy
Travelling while pregnant can bring certain risks, if you are healthy and the pregnancy has no complications it is usually safe to travel with the advice of your doctor. The second trimester, between 14 to 28 weeks, is generally considered the safest time to travel however precautions should still be taken. Each airline will have its own policies regarding flying during pregnancy and some may require a letter from your doctor stating you are fit to fly. It is also wise to remember that many travel insurance policies do not cover pregnancy so you may need to purchase additional cover. For further advice and information go to the NHS Travelling during Pregnancy Guide
Travelling with children
Young children are often more susceptible to sickness and disease due to their lower immune systems. Ensure your child is up to date with vaccinations and that they are given clean food and water.