Travelling to different climates and environments overseas can expose you to diseases and many other health risks. Taking the time to be aware of the dangers and how to stay healthy is the best way to protect your health.
Diseases which aren’t present in the UK such as malaria, yellow fever, rabies and dengue fever are common in some areas of the world, although you can protect yourself quickly and easily.
If possible, you should contact us at least eight weeks before you travel. This is because some vaccinations require multiple doses over several weeks. Other vaccines need to be given well in advance of travel to allow your body to develop immunity.
Malaria is a major health risk in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It is spread through the bites of mosquitoes which are infected with the Plasmodium parasite.
Some forms of malaria can be fatal, others can produce a high fever and may lead to kidney, liver, brain and blood complications. Some anti-malarial tablets are not effective in certain parts of the world so you should always check with a medical practitioner before you travel. Taking precautions to minimise mosquito bites will also reduce your risk.
If you develop malarial symptoms (flu-like symptoms, fever, sweats, chills or vomiting) up to one year after leaving a malarial region, you should seek medical attention and tell the doctor or nurse you have been to country where malaria is a risk.
St Joseph's Hospital is a certified Yellow Fever Centre. Yellow Fever is a serious viral infection spread by certain mosquito in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and parts of the Caribbean. It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and cannot be passed directly from person to person.
Initial symptoms develop 3-6 days after infection and include:
Most people make a full recovery after this stage, however in approximately 15% of cases more serious complaints such as jaundice, kidney failure and even death occur.
The risk of acquiring Yellow Fever is determined by your immunisation status, travel destination, season of travel, duration of travel and activities being undertaken which may increase exposure to mosquitoes.
A single dose of the Yellow Fever vaccine, called Stamaril, provides lifelong protection and in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR) countries have the right to require travellers to provide a certificate of vaccination.
The number of reported cases is increasing and immunisation is important in preventing outbreaks and protecting yourself, and your family and friends, from the disease. If you are travelling to an area at risk you should consult with your GP or nurse and get vaccinated.