Travel Health Tips Before you go Abroad

Preparing for going abroad is the key

Before going abroad it is essential that you have adequate information about travel health, the correct inoculations and enough antimalarials. Below are a number of tips about travel health.

Do Your Homework - You can get excellent information on the internet about the countries you are travelling to and the diseases you might wish to avoid contracting! The following websites are very useful and provide country specific information.
Fit For Travel
National Travel Health Network and Centre
Malaria Hot Spots (Malaria advice)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Government website)

Book Appointments Early With Your Doctor’s Surgery – Book either with the nurse at your local surgery or at a private travel clinic. Allow at least 6-8 weeks before departure in case you need courses of vaccinations, over several weeks. This will give you a bit of leeway if you have to wait for an appointment. If you leave it to the last minute, you run the risk of not being fully covered for vaccinations before your trip as some courses take 3-4 weeks to complete. It’s worth contacting your surgery when you first book your trip to find out the appointments procedure within your practice as they may vary from place to place. Some countries have a mandatory requirement for Yellow Fever and Meningitis ACWY vaccine and if you do not get vaccinated early enough, then you may have to delay your trip.

Vaccinations - Be prepared that some vaccinations may have a charge. The NHS provides certain vaccinations for free (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid), but there are some (Yellow Fever, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, Meningitis ACWY, Hepatitis B, Tick Borne Encephalitis) which you will have to pay for. Consider this in your budget when saving for your trip and you can contact your practice in advance to find out costs. It could cost a couple of hundred of pounds for vaccinations but nothing compared to what you will spend on beer and fun. Vaccinations and antimalarials may save your life, so don’t skimp on them!

Give as Much Information about your Plans as Possible - You will usually be asked by your doctor’s practice or travel clinic to complete a travel questionnaire with information about yourself, medical problems, allergies and details of your trip. It is important that you complete all aspects of form and provide as much detail as possible about different areas you are likely to go to in the countries you are visiting. This detail will help the nurse assess and make accurate recommendations about the vaccinations and antimalarials you will need. Where you are going in a country and the type of travelling you are doing i.e.: rural, camping, backpacking, ‘off the beaten track’ will influence what might be needed. Healthcare professionals realise that people do not always have all this detail of their trip but the more you can give the better. If you are vague about your travel plans you may be considered a higher risk traveller and are more likely to need more vaccinations.

Current Medical Conditions - If you have any chronic medical conditions e.g.: asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, it is important that you are well before travelling meaning that your condition is under good control. You should book an appointment with your doctor or nurse for a review a few months before travel if possible in case changes need to be made to your treatment and monitored before your trip. They may need to consider if travel could have any adverse effects on your medical condition i.e.: altitude, scuba diving depths, exercise, heat.

Consider Contraception - Women talk to your doctor or family planning nurse at surgery or local clinic. You might not think contraception is necessary but you never know what new experiences travelling may bring and its better to be prepared than get caught out far away from home. Make sure you take enough contraception for your trip. Consider that the time difference, change in routine, minor illnesses (i.e.: diarrhoea and vomiting), alcohol intake could lower the effectiveness of your contraception and ability to remember it. Speak to your nurse or doctor early for individualised advice about different contraceptive methods. It is advisable that some methods are started several months before a trip so that any side effects have settled before travelling i.e.: implant, injection, intrauterine device (IUD). Methods like the implant and IUD are good as there is no need to remember to take a daily pill or the contraceptive injection that needs to be given every 12 weeks.

Sexual Health - You can make lots of new friends when travelling, but you don’t want to meet the likes of Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea or any of their friends! Contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Remember to bring condoms on your trip even if you think you might not need them, YOU NEVER KNOW, YOU MIGHT GET LUCKY!

Purchase Travel Insurance - Make sure you take out adequate travel insurance and it covers any medical conditions you may have. Look at details of policy, what is covered and not covered. If you are planning to do anything adventurous e.g.: bungee jump, ski, sky dive, scuba diving etc. the check that these activities are covered. A medical bill for an uninsured activity could cost your family thousands of pounds, dollars or euros!
To arrange cover or to obtain a quotation, please contact our Insurance Brokers Campbell Irvine. Click here to apply for travel insurance ONLINE. (opens in a new window)

"We have arranged travel insurance with specialist Insurance Brokers Campbell Irvine who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. This can be checked on the FSA's register by visiting the FSA's website at or by contacting them on 0845 606 1234. YOMPS is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine Ltd"

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