If you require any vaccinations relating to foreign travel you need to make an appointment with the practice nurse to discuss your travel arrangements. This will include which countries and areas within countries that you are visiting to determine what vaccinations are required.
There is further information about countries and vaccinations required on the Fit For Travel website
It is important to make this initial appointment as early as possible - at least 6 weeks before you travel - as a second appointment will be required with the practice nurse to actually receive the vaccinations. These vaccines have to be ordered as they are not a stock vaccine. Your second appointment needs to be at least 2 weeks before you travel to allow the vaccines to work.
Travel Health Questionnaire
To help us offer the appropriate advice, please fill out the online form before coming to see the nurse.
Travelling in Europe
If you are travelling to Europe the EU has published useful information for travellers on the European website.
Travel Immunisation: Private
We do not offer private travel immunisations (eg Japanese Encephalitis, Meningitis, Rabies, Hepatitis B or Yellow Fever). For these vaccinations you will need to attend a private travel clinic. You can find travel clinics by searching the internet but local clinics include:
- Masta Travel Clinic Tonbridge: Warders, Tonbridge. Call 0330 100 4314
- Masta Travel Clinic Lloyds Pharmacy: Sainsburys, Tunbridge Wells. Call 0330 100 4314
- Heath Pharmacy: Horsmonden. Call 01892 722217
When You Travel
- Remember to take out adequate insurance cover for your trip.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions make sure you inform your insurance company and check the small print of your policy thoroughly.
- Make sure that you take an adequate supply of your regular medications and order from the surgery well in advance. Carry your medications in your hand luggage in their original packaging and if you are flying with sharps and /or controlled drugs you may wish to ask for a “flying with needles” letter from our receptionists to show to your airline at check in.
- Remember that most medications need to be kept at a temperature below 25°C or possibly refrigerated – make plans for how you will do this.
- Some countries do not allow certain medications – check the NHS website and contact the Embassy of the country to which you are travelling if you have any doubts.
- If you are travelling to a European country make sure you obtain an EHIC Card (and check that it is valid as they do have an expiry date). Further information about EHIC is found on the NHS website
While You Are Abroad
- Only drink water you know to be safe. If you do not know the water is safe only drink boiled water, bottled or canned drinks or water treated by a sterilising agent. Remember that this might include ice in your drinks and water for brushing your teeth.
- Keep hydrated – drink extra fluids in a hot climate and be aware that alcohol can make you dehydrated.
- Remember to take sensible precautions in the sun to prevent sunburn and heatstroke and always use a sunblock which contains both UVA and UVB protection and sufficient SPF. Children under 3 years should have a minimum of SPF 25 and babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun at all times. Reapply often and always after swimming and washing.
Common Illnesses Abroad
The most common illness you will be exposed to is diarrhoea. This can be caused by eating and/or drinking food and water contaminated by bacteria, viruses and parasites. There is no vaccine against it and usually lasts for 2-4 days and whilst not a life threatening illness, it can disrupt your trip for several days. The main danger of this illness is dehydration. You can buy over the counter rehydration solutions such as dioralyte or electrolade to take with you. Antidiarrhoeal tablets can be used for adults but should never be used in children under 4 years of age and only on prescription for children aged between 4 and 12.
If you are taking the oral contraceptive pill you should be aware that you may not have full protection if you have diarrhoea and vomiting and extra precautions should be taken.
Insect bites are common and can be the cause of various diseases including malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. Some insects bite only at night but protection is needed at all times. The best advice is to avoid being bitten by covering up your skin as much as possible in at risk areas and use insect repellents on exposed skin (DEET containing products are the most effective – with a DEET content of up to 50% in tropical areas being recommended).
Rabies is present in many parts of the world – avoid touching any animal, even cats and dogs. If you are licked on broken or scratched skin wash the wound thoroughly with soap and running water for 10 to 15 minutes and apply an antiseptic solution and seek medical advice immediately, even if you have been previously immunised. If you are bitten you must seek urgent medical attention.
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