Travelling overseas in different climates and environments can often expose you to health risks and diseases. In some cases, you may be at a higher risk for a disease you could catch in the UK. But also, you could catch a disease that you would not normally expect to contract in the UK, and some of these can be serious. Diseases which aren’t present in the UK include yellow fever, malaria, rabies and dengue fever. These are common in some parts of Africa, Asia and South America.
Fortunately, you can enjoy your travel and mitigate the risks by being well prepared and by making sure you get appropriate vaccinations and medications. Malaria is a disease that is particularly widespread in Africa and Asia.
Vaccinations and immunisations
Visit your GP as soon as possible to check if you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Remember, these treatments aren’t usually available as NHS prescriptions.
Travel Health Tips
take out adequate travel insurance and get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get free or discounted healthcare in EU countries
check for health alerts in the country you are travelling to
in hot climates avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water
use a high-factor sunscreen and avoid sunbathing between 11am – 3pm
make a note of the local emergency services phone numbers
take condoms as quality varies in different countries
Consult your doctor before long-distance travel if you:
are pregnant or have given birth in the last 6 months
have a history of blood disorders, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
are taking hormonal medication (including the contraceptive pill)
have cancer, heart problems or have recently had surgery.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition
tell your travel insurer about your condition
ask your doctor how the trip might affect you
check local conditions such as climate and pollution levels and consider how you might be affected
carry a doctor’s letter and a copy of any prescriptions
ensure your medication is legal in the country you are visiting – contact the Embassy of the country to which you are travelling and see the NHS website for further information