Information for travelling to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka really is a paradise, after stepping out from your lavish five-star resort you can find yourself a beach and not see another person all day. The ever blue waters that surround the beaches are teaming with tropical fish and delightfully warm for a dip. After spending the day on the beach to continue the theme of relaxation you can wander up the hills through lush green fields and stumble upon a roaring waterfall. Heritage and culture is also in abundance with the chance to meditate in temples and the impressive ‘Sigirya Rock’ is a sight to behold.

After all the serenity, there are possibilities to be more adventurous with white water rafting down ferocious rivers for the thrill seekers or travel to much calmer waters to take a dive with an array of vibrant fish. If you here a crash or bang in the night do not be alarmed it could just be a herd of elephants crowding a waterhole!

When taking a trip to the Sri Lanka it is essential to take precautions and you should be aware of the following diseases:

Typhoid and Hepatitis A

You contract Hepatitis A and Typhoid from food and water, for example people preparing your food who are carriers and who have not washed their hands properly. Both diseases will make you ill for about a month. In some cases you can feel very unwell and even be hospitalised.

Hepatitis A and Typhoid are injections that can be given either together or separately. Typhoid lasts three years. With Hepatitis A you have one injection and then a booster six to twelve months later. If you have missed your booster the London Travel Clinic can provide you with a booster at a later date.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a blood-borne disease. You get it from bodily fluids or blood. Travellers are at risk when they have medical intervention in a developing country as equipment may not be sterilised. You may also catch Hepatitis B from sex, tattoos, or intravenous drug use.

The vaccination itself is three injections over a specific schedule that a nurse will discuss with you. If you need to be vaccinated quickly you can have three injections over a month.

Tetanus, Diphtheria or Polio

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio (DTP) is one injection. It is advised that you have this injection every ten years, regardless of your previous medical history. It’s an injection in the top of the arm (intramuscular) which can lead to an aching arm for about twenty-four hours, but this is however a very important vaccination to consider.

Rabies

The Rabies disease is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. A bite or even a scratch that draws blood could mean that you have been exposed to Rabies. Children are at much more high risk of getting bitten as they are more likely to stroke stray dogs and cats. It is therefore important to consider this vaccination for your children as well.

The importance of getting a Rabies vaccination is to do with proximity and quality of health care. If you have not been vaccinated you will have to go to a hospital within twelve hours of being bitten by an animal. Having a vaccination stops you having to do this; you have two days to find a hospital which puts you in a much safer position.

The Rabies vaccination consists of three injections over twenty-one or twenty-eight days. It is very important that you have the full course before you go. You will not be fully protected without all of the three injections.

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever occurs in some countries in South America, it is important to check which countries you are at risk in before travelling to there.

Yellow Fever is often found in tropical areas of South America. It is spread by the bite of a mosquito.

The vaccination for Yellow Fever is a small injection in to the top of the arm, which lasts for ten years. It is essential to consider the vaccination not only for your own personal safety but also for the certification requirements across borders. Some countries demand a Yellow Fever certificate in order to enter the country. It is therefore essential that you ask your nurse whether you need this vaccination.

Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis is quite a serious disease, a third of people that contract Japanese Encephalitis die and many people can be left with serious neurological problems. It is really important to talk to your nurse about this in order to see whether you fit in to the risk categories.

Japanese Encephalitis is spread by the bite of a mosquito. It is more common in rural areas, the hosts are pigs and wading birds. There is still a risk of contracting the disease in urban areas and it is important to talk to a nurse about what your risk may be.

You have one injection on the first day that you visit us and twenty-eight days later you have your second injection. It usually lasts between two and three years so it is important to maintain boosters if you regularly visit areas of the world where this disease is prevalent.

What other precautions should I take?

It is very important to take bite avoidance measures, so use mosquito repellent and a net to avoid yourself getting bitten by mosquitos.

It is also worth taking precautions against Dengue Fever, Chikungunya Fever and Traveller’s Diarrhoea when visiting these areas. These cannot be vaccinated against but it is worth considering precautions for these, such as our H2O Pack and our Mosquito prevention kits.

The advice given here is general destination advice; anyone travelling to this area should speak with a trained health advisor to get full detailed advice on vaccinations.

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