Your Guide To Travelling Abroad
Travelling abroad can be stressful, especially if you don’t have the right information. Below, we’ve answered what are the most common queries we get on a daily basis.
What Happens After My Vaccination?
Side effects are uncommon, but here’s what could happen and what to do:
Slight tenderness, redness and swelling commonly develop at the site of injection shortly after vaccination. You may also experience flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, muscular aching and tiredness) which usually subside within 24-48 hours. If you have had a live vaccine, then these side effects may present 5-10 days after vaccination. These symptoms can be managed with the use of over-the-counter pain relief/cold and flu remedies such as paracetamol (Please ask your pharmacist if this is suitable for you). Please also ensure to drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic, fruit juices, water) should you experience any of these side effects.
Although a very rare occurrence, patients may experience a severe allergic reaction which would warrant immediate medical attention shortly after receiving a vaccination. We therefore, as a precautionary measure, strongly advise that you wait within the vicinity of the clinic for approximately 10 minutes after your vaccination. Should you develop symptoms such as breathlessness, please seek medical attention immediately.
Food and Water Hygeine
Contaminated food and water can transmit a number of different infectious diseases:
It can be difficult to avoid contaminated food and water, but you can try and reduce the risk by:
– Drinking drinks served in unopened, factory produced cans or bottles with intact seals
– Drinking boiled and cooled water, and avoiding tap water
– Avoiding ice
– Eating recently prepared and thoroughly cooked food that is served hot.
– Avoiding uncooked fruit and vegetables, unless washed and peeled by the traveller
– Avoiding raw or undercooked meat, fish or shellfish
– Avoiding food from street traders unless thoroughly cooked in front of the traveller and served hot on clean crockery.
Insect Bites and Malaria
Insects can carry many different diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. Diseases are transferred via insect bites which can accumulate throughout the day or overnight, therefore bite protection is essential:
– Use an effective insect repellent. If travelling to a tropical destination 50% DEET is recommended. Apply over sunscreen
– Cover up skin as much as possible if going out at night, malaria carrying mosquitoes bite from dusk until dawn.
– Mosquito nets are recommended if camping
– Homeopathic and herbal medications are not effective in preventing bites alone.
If you are travelling to a high risk malaria area, malaria prophylaxis should be considered. Malaria is serious and can be fatal. If flu like symptoms including fever, sweats, chills, headache, muscle pain, cough, diarrhoea develop seek medical help immediately, and state that you have been abroad. If you have been given malaria tablets it is important to take them correctly and to finish the course.
Remember the ABCD of malaria prevention advice:
– Awareness of the risk
– Bite prevention
– Chemoprophylaxis (taking the correct tablets)
– Diagnosis (knowing the symptoms and acting quickly)
Not the most ideal illness! Here’s exactly what it is and how to best handle it:
Travellers’ diarrhoea is described as 3 or more loose stools in a 24 hour period often accompanied by stomach pain, cramps and vomiting. It usually lasts 2-4 days and whilst it is not a life threatening illness, it can disrupt or delay travel for several days.
Due to the rapid loss of bodily fluids and key electrolytes, the main consequence of traveler’s diarrhoea is dehydration, and this, if very severe, can kill if it is not treated.
Treatment is therefore rehydration. In severe cases and particularly in young children and the elderly, commercially prepared rehydration solution is extremely useful. Alternatively you can prepare your own rehydrating solution by adding 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 litre of safe water.
Diarrhoea is caused by eating and/or drinking food and water contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Risk of illness is higher in some countries than others.
High risk areas: North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, S.E. Asia, South America, Mexico and the Middle East.
Medium risk areas: The northern Mediterranean, Canary Islands and the Caribbean Islands.
Low risk areas: North America, Western Europe and Australia.
– A good tip is to take oral rehydration solutions with you. These can be bought over the counter in a pharmacy. A combination of loperamide (anti-diarrhoeal agent) and ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic which can be prescribed by the sturdee clinic) can be used by some travellers.
– Seek immediate medical attention if there is blood or mucus in the stool, if you have a temperature or symptoms continue for more than 4 days.
What To Do If You Feel Unwell Abroad
It can be tough to know what to do when you feel unwell abroad, particularly if there’s a language barrier. Here’s what to do:
Your travel insurance company may be able to direct you to the best place to go. The medical facilities are generally better in bigger cities and towns than in rural areas in developing countries.
Needles and syringes may be reused in poor countries, this can result in the transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, C and HIV. If you are visiting these places, it may be best to consider a sterile equipment pack including clean syringes and needles.
Contact the British Embassy is you are admitted into hospital, they may be able to liaise with your insurance company on your behalf.
Adapted from: www.janechiodini.co.uk accessed: 21/01/19
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