NHS Service

Travel Vaccinations: What You Need To Know Before Your Trip

Essential Information on travel vaccinations before your trip

Travelling can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to prioritise your health before starting your journey. One of the key steps to ensure a safe and healthy trip is to get the appropriate travel vaccinations. Vaccinations can protect you from various diseases that may be prevalent in your destination. Here’s what you need to know about travel vaccinations before your trip:

Understanding Travel Vaccinations

Travel vaccinations are immunisations travellers can get before visiting certain areas of the world that help protect them from serious illnesses. These vaccines work by exposing your body to a small, safe part of the disease, which helps your immune system learn how to fight it off in the future.

Why Travel Vaccinations are Important

Different parts of the world have different diseases and when you travel, you might be exposed to illnesses that your body isn’t used to fighting. Travel vaccinations can protect you from many diseases, including:

  • Hepatitis A and B: These are liver infections caused by viruses. They can be spread through contaminated food or water (Hepatitis A) or through blood and bodily fluids (Hepatitis B).
  • Typhoid: This is a bacterial infection that can spread through contaminated food and water.
  • Yellow Fever: This is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It’s prevalent in certain parts of Africa and South America.
  • Rabies: This is a deadly virus spread through the saliva of infected animals. It’s more common in countries with high levels of street dogs.
  • Meningococcal Disease: This is a bacterial illness that can cause serious infections like meningitis. It’s more common in the “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa.

When to Get Vaccinated 

Ideally, you should visit a travel clinic or our healthcare provider 4-6 weeks before your trip. Some vaccines need time to take effect and others may require multiple doses spread out over several weeks.

How to Know Which Vaccinations You Need

The vaccinations you need depend on several factors:

  • Your Destination: Different regions have different risks. For example, you may need a Yellow Fever vaccine if you’re travelling to certain parts of Africa or South America.
  • Your Activities: If you’re planning activities like hiking or camping, you might need additional vaccinations like Rabies or Japanese Encephalitis.
  • Your Health: Your doctor will consider your medical history, age and current health status when recommending vaccines.

The NHS and Travel Vaccinations 

In the UK, the NHS suggests some travel vaccinations such as those for polio (given as a combined diphtheria/tetanus/polio jab), typhoid, hepatitis A, cholera, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. It’s important to check with your GP or a travel clinic to find out what you’ll need for your specific trip.

If you’re travelling with children, it’s important to ensure that they are also up-to-date on their vaccinations. Some countries require proof of vaccination for entry, especially for diseases like Yellow Fever.

Like any medication, vaccines can have side effects, but they are generally mild and short-lived. Common side effects include soreness at the injection site, mild fever and fatigue.

Protect Your Health on the Go!

Travel vaccinations are an important part of preparing for your trip. They can protect you from serious diseases and ensure that your travel experience is safe and enjoyable. Be sure to consult with our healthcare provider or a travel medicine specialist well in advance of your trip to determine which vaccinations you need. By taking the necessary precautions, you can focus on making the most of your adventure.

So, don’t let preventable diseases ruin your adventure. Visit Touchwood Pharmacy for a travel vaccination consultation. Our experienced pharmacists will provide personalised advice based on your destination and activities, ensuring you’re protected wherever you go. Book your appointment today and travel with peace of mind!