Visiting friends or relatives overseas?
All travellers should prepare themselves when travelling to countries where there are potential health risks, but those visiting friends and relatives have a particularly high risk of acquiring infections.
Even if you have grown up, or previously lived in the country you are visiting, you probably do not have immunity to these diseases anymore. It takes less than a year living in non-endemic countries to lose any natural immunity you develop when you live in the endemic country. This includes to malaria, which can be more severe after you have lived in a malaria-free country.
When planning your trip, it is important to spend a little time checking for health advice for your destination country. You can do this on the NHS website ‘Fit For Travel’ www.firfortravel.nhs.uk and the www.nathnac.org
Make an appointment to discuss your trip with a travel health professional 6-8 weeks before you travel, which may just be for advice and recommendations, but it is safer to be sure you protect your health.
Here are some key recommendations:
If there is Malaria, Dengue or Chickungunya (or other diseases spread by insects), make sure you take insect bite avoidance measures, including the use of insect repellent on all exposed skin and sleeping under a net. These items can all be purchased in our clinics.
Some anti-malarial tablets, and even some vaccines can be taken at short notice, even the day you leave, so even if it is short notice before you leave, it’s never too late to get medical advice. Our travel clinics are able to offer same day and last-minute appointments.
Illnesses carried in food and water can are more common in some countries, such as Typhoid and Travellers’ diarrhoea. Make sure you take care with food hygiene and wash your hands with soap before eating and especially after using the toilet.
If you are unwell, even after you return from your trip and especially if you have flu- like symptoms, a high fever or persistent diarrhoea, seek medical advice immediately. Even if you have travelled to your destination area several times before, make a free appointment to discuss your health needs with a travel health specialist, and reduce your risk of becoming ill overseas.