This travel page is provided by Fitfortravel, a public website by NHS Scotland which gives travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK.
Advice for All Destinations
The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.
Measles occurs worldwide and is common in developing countries. The pre-travel consultation is a good opportunity to check that you are immune, either by previous immunisation or natural measles infection.
Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. UK travellers visiting other European Union countries should also carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries. Online applications normally arrive within seven days. Applications may also be made by telephone on 0300 330 1350 or by post using the form which can be downloaded from the website.
For Travel Safety Advice you should visit the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
A worldwide list of clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is available on the ISTM website.
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A
- Other vaccines to consider: Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Tetanus
- Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
- Hepatitis A: Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
- Hepatitis B: Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
- Japanese Encephalitis: Spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito breeds in rice paddies and mainly bites between dusk and dawn. Risk is higher for long stay travellers to rural areas, particularly if unable to avoid mosquito bites.
- Tetanus: Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
Malaria precautionsMalaria Map
- Malaria precautions are essential. Risk is low in all areas, however human P.knowlesi malaria is reported. Bite avoidance is the mainstay of prevention and those with extended travel into rural areas should be particularly vigilant.
- Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
- Antimalarial tablets are usually not advised.
- If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
- If travelling to high risk malarious areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.
Other Health Risks
A viral illness that is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain - hence its other name 'breakbone fever'. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites. For further information see Dengue Fever.