The Philippines is a fascinating archipelago, made up of thousands of islands where you can explore stunning beaches and enjoy superb surfing and diving.
Ensure you follow our top travel tips to stay healthy.
7,641 islands, of these islands, only 2,000 are inhabited.
The Philippine archipelago is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
If you are heading to the Philippines you should ensure that you are up to date with your routine immunisations. There have been outbreaks of measles and polio this year in the country so all travellers should ensure they have received 2 doses of the MMR vaccination and a full course of diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP) vaccinations.
In addition, it is advised that vaccinations against hepatitis and typhoid are given. Other vaccinations that can be considered are hepatitis b, rabies and Japanese encephalitis. Find out more about our wellness and travel vaccinations.
Rabies is an especially high risk in the Philippines. It is a virus found in the saliva and bodily fluids of mammals. It is transmitted to humans by the bite, scratch or lick to open skin. Once the virus enters the body and the nervous system, it is fatal. There is a large number of stray animals in the Philippines so extra care should be taken to avoid contact with animals. Pre-travel rabies vaccinations are strongly recommended for travellers to the Philippines. There have been reports of falsified rabies vaccinations and immunoglobulin circulating in the country meaning anyone exposed to the virus seeking medical treatment in-country may not receive the proper treatment.
The majority of the Philippines is low to no risk of malaria. Palawan, Tawi Tawi, Zambales and Zamboanga del Norte present a higher risk of malaria. Most travellers will not require anti-malarial medication providing they are careful not to get bitten by mosquitoes. The malaria mosquitoes are most active during the evening, so if you plan to visit a high-risk area, ensure you are cautious between the hours of dusk and dawn and aim to sleep under a mosquito net to prevent bites whilst you sleep.
The Philippines has a risk of several non-vaccine preventable viruses that can be spread by mosquitoes. Dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus are the main culprits. These viruses are spread by mosquitoes that predominantly bite in the day. As there is no vaccination nor medication that will prevent this illness, strict precautions must be taken to prevent their bites. Wear long loose clothing and cover up as much as possible, particularly between dawn and dusk. Wear a good insect repellent with a minimum of 50% DEET in it, and treat clothes with the insecticide permethrin for added protection.
See our ultimate bug kit.
The Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands and the main way of reaching them is by boat. If you are prone to travel sickness you may want to ensure you pack some medication to prevent this so not to interrupt your experience. There is an abundance of pristine coral reefs throughout the archipelago making the country perfect for water sports. Whether you are snorkelling, surfing or scuba diving, if you plan to take the plunge you need to be careful to avoid coral cuts and abrasions. Extra care needs to be taken with coral cuts to prevent them from becoming infected. Packing a small first aid kit with tweezers, waterproof dressings and antiseptic is a sensible idea.
The availability of medical care varies across the Philippines, and may not meet the standards of care in the UK. Although adequate in major cities, medical care is limited in more remote areas.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | November 2019
Botswana is one of the greatest safari destinations.
The Okavango Delta offers exceptional opportunities to view wild creatures and birdlife. Elephants roam freely and herds of buffalo crowd around the winding waterways the river. The stark and desolate landscape of the Kalahari desert can be found in the south with the longest unbroken stretch of sand there is. Whatever your itinerary, ensure you follow our top travel tips.
All travellers should ensure they are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including measles, hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria-tetanus and polio (DTP). You may want to consider getting vaccinations for rabies and hepatitis B as well. Both these diseases are classed as high-risk in Botswana. We would advise you to speak with a travel nurse ideally 4-6 weeks before travel. At this appointment, you can discuss where you’re going and what you plan to do. They can then advise you of all the recommended vaccinations you should consider.
There is a high risk of malaria throughout the year in the northern areas of Botswana including the Okavango Delta, Chobe and Moremi. There is a low risk of malaria in the rest of the country including the central Kalahari, Gaborone and Gemsbok. Individuals travelling to hight risk regions are advised to take anti-malarial medications to prevent the disease. As well as taking precautions against mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread malaria predominantly bite at night. For that reason, it is essential you sleep under a mosquito net.
All travellers need to take extra precautions against insect bites. Mosquitoes, ticks, mites and lice are able to spread diseases such as African tick bite fever, dengue fever, filariasis and myiasis. Travellers should wear good insect repellent with at least 50% DEET and try to cover up with long loose clothes. You can add extra protection to your clothes by treating them with an insecticide. We would recommend using a permethrin spray.
See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
What about Yellow Fever?
The is no risk of Yellow Fever in Botswana. It is therefore not recommended that travellers get vaccinated. Travellers may require a valid Yellow Fever Certificate if they are entering Botswana from a country that has yellow fever, or who have transited through a country with a risk of yellow fever.
First Aid Supplies
Areas of Botswana can be remote, and access to medication and first aid supplies can be limited. Packing a good basic first aid kit is a good idea to help treat minor injuries and illnesses. Basic items such as anti-histamines, pain relief and medicines to treat upset stomachs are useful. Likewise, pack small dressings, plasters and antiseptic cream to treat minor scrapes and scratches. If you take prescription medication to ensure you pack sufficient for your trip and carry a record of the medication with you.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | October 2019
Albania, located in Southeastern Europe, is a tourist haven this time of year.
Albania has much to offer, from stunning mountain scenes to crumbling castles to picture-perfect beaches all with easy-going charm and a friendly atmosphere. Right now the tales of its beauty haven’t quite reached the masses, but we have a feeling this is likely to change in the not too distant future.
If you plan on staying in Albania‘s capital, Tirana, be sure to see the rotating restaurant/ bars for spectacular city views. Or take to the countryside and seashores to take in the ubiquitous sight of the abandoned concrete bunkers of Albania. Fearing invasion during the Cold War, Albania’s leader Enver Hoxha forced his country to build tens of thousands of bunkers throughout the country. These days you’ll see most in a state of slow decay but some have been given a new lease of life as a hotel, home or museum.
Visit Berat, to see the ‘town of a thousand windows’. This fascinating city dates back to the Ottoman Empire. The most striking feature of Ottoman architecture is the collection of whitewashed houses and towering minarets which adorn the hill to its castle. It is easily a highlight of visiting Albania. If, however, you prefer the great outdoors scale the peaks and troughs of the Accursed Mountains and take in the captivating castles of Gjirokastra.
Whatever your plan to do, be sure to follow our top travel tips to stay healthy in Albania.
All travellers to Albania are advised to be in-date with their routine immunisations. These include diphtheria-tetanus and polio and measles, mumps and rubella. Europe has seen huge outbreaks of measles in recent years. Therefore, all travellers should make sure they have received at least two doses of the vaccination, MMR.
If you’re unsure of your immunity, you can have a simple blood test to find out. Some travellers may wish to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Tick-Borne Encephalitis. It is best to book a pre-travel consultation with a travel nurse to discuss your holiday plans. Together you can discuss what vaccines you’ll need.
Trekking and Ticks
The dramatic peaks of the Accursed Mountains spread their spoil between Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro. Those who plan to take advantage of the great outdoors should strongly consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). TBE is a bacterial infection spread via tick bites or the consumption of unpasteurised dairy produce (between spring to autumn). Contracting the illness causes a fever with neurological complications.
TBE is vaccine-preventable and consists of 2 doses of the vaccination being given at least 2 weeks apart. A third dose is given 5-12 months later to give longer-term protection. Travellers should also avoid ticks by wearing long trousers and socks, and using DEET insect repellant. If you spot a tick on you, it needs to be removed promptly with some flat tweezers or a tick remover and cleaned with alcohol to reduce the risk of infection.
Rabies is a fatal virus found in the saliva of infected mammals. Travellers can be exposed to it through a bite, scratch or a lick to an open area of skin. Therefore, you should avoid contact with animals, especially wild and stray animals. The vaccination against rabies means that treatment can be given easily and in the country should a risk of rabies occur.
You will require a series of 3 vaccinations to be given over a 3 week period. Or over 1 week if a rapid course is needed. Travellers at greater risk are those who plan to do outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, cycling or caving.
First Aid Kit
For those trekking in the hills, packing good basic first aid kit is essential. The availability of health care and first aid supplies are very limited in rural areas, particularly outside Tirana. Therefore, you should make sure you bring your own adequate basic provisions. These include pain relief, plasters and medication to treat an upset stomach, such as loperamide and oral rehydration salts. Cuts, scapes blisters and even a twisted ankle can occur, so take blister pads, some waterproof dressings and a bandage to deal with any minor injuries whilst you are there.
Access to safe water may be limited. You should consider packing chlorine dioxide tablets to purify your own water. Alternatively, you can purchase a water-to-go bottle which has a built-in filter. If you take regular prescription medication, be sure you pack enough to last your entire journey. And, remember to carry the prescription with you just in case.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | September 2019
Travel nurse Anna takes us on a journey to Tel Aviv. A city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast steeped in history and a vibrant cultural scene. From vaccinations to sun protection follow the top tips to travel safely.
All travellers are advised to ensure that they are in date with their routine vaccinations. Measles outbreaks have been reported in Israel since September 2018, and there are concerns that the increase of travellers heading to Israel for Passover in mid-April could see cases rise. Travellers should ensure that they have received two doses of measles vaccination (often referred to as the MMR) prior to departure.
Other travel vaccinations to be considered are diphtheria, tetanus and polio, and Hepatitis A. Some travellers may also wish to consider vaccinations against Hepatitis B and Rabies. It is always best to discuss which vaccinations are necessary for your trip with a travel nurse.
However, vaccinations cannot protect you from many diseases and dangers in Israel, the risk can be reduced through your behaviours…
Israel lies within the sub-tropical region with a Mediterranean climate. Summer temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius, and even higher in the Negev desert. Don’t let the Mediterranean summer breezes deceive you and stay sun safe. Keep hydrated, wear a high factor sunscreen and avoid the suns rays between 11am-3pm when at its strongest.
Food and Water
Israel is foodie heaven but travellers should still maintain good food and water practices to avoid tummy trouble whilst away. Avoid tap water and ice made from tap water: stick to bottled water. Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after using the toilet. Ensure all food you eat is cooked thoroughly and served straight to you. For those who would still like the freedom to eat and drink without worry, it is advisable to carry a gastro kit with you. Inside will be various medications that can assist with travellers’ diarrhoea, should it occur.
Mosquitoes and sand flies can be particularly problematic during the summer months. Not only can their bites cause irritation, but they can also spread diseases such as West Nile Fever, dengue fever and leishmaniasis. There are no specific vaccinations and preventative treatments for these diseases, and bite avoidance is the only way. Try and cover up especially between dusk and dawn, and wear a good insect repellant that contains at least 50% DEET.
See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
From Red to Dead…
From the riches of the coral seas in the red to the abyss of the dead sea, take sensible precautions when taking the plunge. The dead sea lies 413m below sea level and is actually rather tricky to swim in. Tourist usually come to float on its surface as the high salt content makes it hard to submerge. Be careful. Cover any cuts you have with waterproof plasters to avoid a sharp sting. Do not splash when in the water, as it may cause injury or irritation to your eye if it enters. If you wear contact lenses, it’s best to swap to your glasses.
You can book all vaccination appointments or travel consultations online.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | May 2019
Uzbekistan is home to spellbinding architecture and ancient cities. In terms of sights alone, Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s biggest draw and most impressive showstopper. Fabulous mosques, medressas and mausoleums are just some of the pulls for tourists when visiting Uzbekistan while more eccentric views can be seen at the fast disappearing Aral Sea and Nuratau Mountains.
Travel Nurse, Anna, shares her top tips on how to stay healthy during your trip to Uzbekistan.
Ensure you are up-to-date with your travel vaccinations. The minimum advised for a trip to Uzbekistan is diphtheria tetanus and polio, and Hepatitis A. Typhoid, Hepatitis B and Rabies can be considered by some travellers. It is advisable to attend for a pre-travel assessment with a travel nurse 6-weeks before your trip as some vaccinations requires several injections to complete the course.
Food and water
Precautions against the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea should be taken to prevent an upset stomach ruining your trip. Do not drink tap water in Uzbekistan, stick to bottled water or water that has been boiled. If you are trekking or visiting remote areas it’s a good idea to take either a water bottle with a filter or some chlorine dioxide tablets to make water safe to drink, should you not be able to find a shop with bottled water.
Sour milk dishes dominate the Uzbek cuisine. Cue caution if you want to try ‘kurt’, the famous fermented cheese balls. There is a risk of a bacterial disease called brucellosis that can be spread through unpasteurised dairy products such as cheese and milk.
Travelling further afield
Uzbekistan forms one of the countries on the old silk route. If you plan on a tour of the ‘Stans’ or attempting the whole Beijing to Istanbul route, you may need to consider other travel health precautions. Depending on your route, and also the time of year you intend to travel, you may wish to consider vaccinations against Tick-Borne Encephalitis and Japanese Encephalitis.
Khazret Sultan, Uzbekistan’s highest peak stands at 4643m. Many popular walking and hiking routes such as Big Chimgan exceed over 3000m, making altitude related illnesses a hazard. Tips for reducing altitude sickness include a slow ascent route, keeping hydrated, ensuring that your sleeping altitude doesn’t exceed 500m per day. Diamox (acetazolamide) is a prescription medication that can reduce the symptoms of altitude related illness.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | April 2019
Marrakesh is a former Imperial City and the heart of Morocco. Whether you plan on visiting the medinas of Marrakesh or branch out to the sands of the Sahara or the heights of the Atlas mountains, ensure you follow our top travel tips to stay healthy.
All travellers should ensure they have received vaccinations against Hepaitis A and diphtheria-tetanus and polio. Vaccinations against typhoid should be considered for those who cannot guarantee safe food and water during their trip, Hepatitis B and Rabies vaccinations can be considered for some travellers, especially those travelling to more remote locations.
Travellers should be careful when dining in Morocco. This will help to prevent food and water-borne illnesses. You should avoid drinking tap water, and stick to boiled water, or bottled sealed water. Those who are trekking may wish to take a water bottle with a filter or a supply of chlorine dioxide tablets to make water safe when in remote locations.
Stick to the mantra of cooking it, peel it, boil it, forget it. If you cannot cook, peel or boil what you plan to eat or drink, it is probably safest to avoid consuming. Food contaminated with local water, such as salads are considered high risk and best to be avoided. Ensure all food is cooked thoroughly and served straight away. Avoid buffet items which may have been sat for long periods of time and could be contaminated. You can also purchase our worldwide gastro kit.
The availability of health care and first aid supplies are limited in Morocco. Whether you are visiting the median of Marrakesh or ambling around the Atlas, taking a good first aid kit with you is essential – click here to buy online now.
Basic provisions include pain relief, plasters and medication to treat an upset stomach, such as loperamide and oral rehydration salts. If you take prescription medication to ensure you pack enough and carry the prescription with you.
The peak of Mount Toubkal exceeds 4,000m and can be summited in 5-7 hours. High altitude and fast ascent rates can put travellers at risk of altitude sickness and acute mountain sickness. The risk can be reduced by ensuring you stay hydrated, plan a slow ascent and factor in some acclimatisation days. Acetazolamide (Diamox) can be used to help aid the process, speak to a travel nurse about this at your pre-travel assessment.
It is always best to seek travel advice before any holiday. A pre-travel assessment is quick and easy, vaccinations and prescriptions can be given within a single appointment and any follow-up treatments to complete courses arranged for a convenient time straight away.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | April 2019
Boating in the Bahamas
The best way to see the Bahamas is by boat. As an archipelago of over 700 islands and cays all strung together like pearls over a turquoise sea, the majority of visitors choose to cruise to see the many delights that this country has to offer. Whether you only visit the Bahamas or take an all-encompassing Caribbean cruise, it is important to remember those travel vaccinations and travel health advice are essential if you are to enjoy a happy healthy holiday.
Here are our top travel tips for staying healthy in the Bahamas…
All travellers should be in date with diphtheria, tetanus polio and Hepatitis A. There is no risk of the Yellow Fever virus in the Bahamas, however, if your cruise takes you to an area that does have a risk of the virus (such as South America), you will need to provide evidence of vaccination in the form of a valid Yellow Fever certificate. Cruise ships are confined spaces with a high volume of passengers which makes you more susceptible to infections. If you plan on travelling during the winter months, it is sensible to consider a flu vaccination as respiratory viruses can spread easily.
The Bahamas lie in the tropical Caribbean seas making the sun, sea and sand the major attraction. Remember to be sun safe. Wear a high factor sun cream throughout your holiday. The sun’s rays are particularly strong between 11am-3pm so it’s best to avoid direct exposure during this time. Slap on a hat, slip on a shirt and slop on some sunscreen.
The Bahamas have a risk of dengue fever, chikungunya and the Zika virus. These illness are spread via the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Whilst causing mild illness in many, they can cause more serious complications and are best avoided. Zika virus is associated with a serious complication during pregnancy and those who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon after the trip are advised against travel to the area. There are no specific vaccinations against these mosquito-borne viruses so bite prevention is the only defence. Cover up exposed skin and wear an insect repellent containing at least 50% DEET.
See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
The majority of Bahamian cuisine comes straight out of the sea. Whilst seafood and fish are delicious, ensure that any food consumed is cooked thoroughly and served fresh to you. The Bahamas has an abundance of fresh tropical fruit but it is wise to adhere to the ‘cook it, boil it, peel it or forget it’ saying to avoid the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea. We advise travellers to take a gastro kit with them which can help prevent and treat the commonest gastrointestinal symptoms that occur when travelling.
If you do plan to see the Bahamas by boat, ensure you follow some sensible precautions to avoid getting sick from fellow passengers. Wash your hands regularly, make use of the alcohol-based sanitizers stations on board, carry a small alcohol-based hand sanitiser to keep your hands clean when off the ship. Ensure you stay hydrated, but make sure you drink water from a safe source (bottled, boiled or purified).
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | March 2019
An Arab nation on the east bank of the Jordan River, Jordan is one of the safest countries to visit in the Middle East. Awash with biblical heritage, ancient sites and large swathes of desert; it is a natural wonder with historical sights to tempt any traveller.
The daytime temperature rarely drops below the high teens, and flight time is less than 5 hours from the UK. Whether you are ambling in Amman, wandering the Wadi’s, dipping in the Dead sea or plodding around Petra, be sure to follow our top travel tips to stay healthy.
All travellers should ensure they are up to date with their routine vaccinations. Vaccinations include diphtheria, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Hepatitis B and rabies can be considered for those at risk (speak to a travel nurse prior to departing).
Rabies is a fatal virus spread through the bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal, most commonly a cat, a dog or a bat. The risk is greatest when the animal pierces the skin and/ or makes contact with an open wound. There are many ‘high risk’ countries, in Jordan, dogs, cats and bats are the biggest culprits and the risk of these animals carrying the disease is high. Once the rabies virus enters the nervous system there is no treatment and it is fatal. Travellers can reduce the risk of rabies by receiving pre-travel vaccinations against the disease. This doesn’t exempt the traveller from treatment if they have been exposed, but simplifies the process and provides the best outcome. Rabies treatment is scarce and can be very difficult to source in some countries, so having pre-travel immunisations puts you in the best possible position should something happen. Those who are trekking, camping or going off the grid to places like Wadi Rum are at highest risk of the disease.
Food and Water
Jordanian cuisine is delicious, but ensure you avoid the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea by following some sensible precautions. Ensure you are up-to-date with Hepatitis A vaccination as this viral illness are spread through contaminated food and water. Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating. Ensure water is either boiled or bottled with a good, unbroken seal. Do not drink tap water or brushing your teeth with it and avoid ice. Ensure all food you eat is served piping hot and straight to you.
All that bites
Take precautions against sand fly bites that are ubiquitous in Jordan. Aside from producing a painful bite, they can also carry a parasite responsible for Leishmaniasis. Sand flies tend to feed at night and fly close to the ground. Prevent them from feeding on you by covering up, especially between dusk and dawn. Wear long trousers and socks to prevent bites around your ankles as they are flow flyers. Wear good insect repellant with a minimum of 50% DEET. Sleep under a mosquito net, especially if you are camping or hiking in the more rural areas of Jordan.
See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
From red to dead…
From the riches of the coral in the red sea to the abyss of the dead sea, take sensible precautions when taking the plunge. The dead sea lies 413m below sea level and is actually rather tricky to swim in. Tourist usually come to float on its surface as the high salt content makes it hard to submerge. Be careful. Cover any cuts you have with waterproof plasters to avoid a sharp sting. Do not splash when in the water, as it may cause injury or irritation to your eye if it enters. If you wear contact lenses, it’s best to swap to your glasses.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | March 2019
Senegal is one of West Africa’s most visited countries; it is considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa, which is probably why it is more popular than it’s neighbouring countries. Senegal offers the hustle and bustle of Dakar, the sand dunes of the Lompul Desert, the clear waters of the Casamance and tropical backwaters of the Sine-Saloum Delta. Unfortunately, a tropical environment comes with tropical diseases, especially ones that fly!
Don’t wing it with your health, follow our top travel tips to stay healthy and have a bug-free break …
Sleeping sickness, also known as “human African trypanosomiasis”, is caused by the tsetse fly, which is native to the African continent and generally active during the day. If an infected tsetse fly, which is carrying the parasite, bites you, it can cause acute trypanosomiasis. Sleeping sickness infects the brain causing confusion, disturbed sleep (hence the name) and can be fatal if not treated.
Malaria is prevalent throughout the whole of West Africa, including Senegal. It is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Generally, these mosquitos bite most often during dusk til dawn. All travellers to Senegal should take anti-malarial medication and take preventative measures against mosquitoes.
Yellow Fever is a virus spread by the Aedes mosquito, that is most active from dawn till dusk. Catching Yellow Fever can be fatal but can be prevented by vaccination. The vaccination gives a lifetime of protection, however, it is not suitable for everyone and a comprehensive risk assessment should be sought from a travel clinic. Additionally, there is a requirement to be in possession of a valid Yellow Fever certificate when entering Senegal from another infected country, especially those who plan onwards travel to Gambia or Guinea-Bissau.
Zika Virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito which commonly bites during the day in urban settings, such as Dakar and St Louis. The majority of people who are infected with Zika virus have no symptoms, but if contracted during pregnancy or close to conception it can cause Congenital Zika Syndrome. Currently, there is no vaccination nor cure for Zika virus infection and strict precautions against mosquitoes should be taken.
Best prevention to banish those bugs?
- Wear long loose clothing and cover-up. If the insects can’t bite you, they can’t transmit their diseases to you.
- Use a minimum of 50% DEET spray on any exposed areas of skin and reapply regularly
- Sleep under a mosquito net
- Treat clothes with permethrin
- Ensure you receive a travel consultation prior to departure to receive the appropriate pre-travel vaccinations and medications against malaria and Yellow Fever
- You can purchase one of our Ultimate Bug Kits to help protect yourself
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | February 2019
Stay healthy at Holi
Holi is a famous spring Hindu festival that is celebrated in every part of India. It is known as the festival of colours and is mostly celebrated in March in Rajasthan.
The celebration signifies the beginning of spring beginning and the end of winter. It is sometimes known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. During the festival, it is encouraged to throw powdered paint (gulal) into the air. This symbolises the abundance of colours of spring and the celebration of a new season.
Here are top travel tips to stay healthy at Holi.
Don’t forget your travel vaccinations
Travellers going to India should ensure they are up-to-date with their travel vaccinations. These include Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio. Rabies, Hepatitis B and Japanese Encephalitis are sometimes suggested and are dependent on where you’re travelling to and the activities you plan to do there. A consultation with a travel nurse will provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision either way.
Eat, drink and be merry…
India is food heaven but don’t let travellers diarrhoea turn it into a Holi holiday hell. Avoid tap water or ice from an unknown source. Ensure bottled water has an intact seal if buying from a vendor. Alternatively, invest in a water-to-go bottle which has a built-in filter making unsafe water safe to drink. You can pick one up during a travel appointment at the clinic whilst getting your vaccines.
Eat well-cooked food served piping hot, and avoid fruits and salad items that might have been washed in the local water. It is worth investing in a gastro medical kit which contains all the necessary medicines should you get sick at any point during your travels.
Holi festival is synonymous with the throwing of coloured powder. Contact lens wearers should stick to their glasses during the festival so to avoid getting dye in their eyes. Any dye that makes its way into your eye could cause a chemical injury and lasting damage. If any powder does get in your eye, wash it well with clean running water.
Don’t let the dye stop the DEET.
Dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika, Japanese Encephalitis and even malaria can occur in parts of India. Therefore, banish the bugs bites by covering up as much as possible, wearing a good insect repellent with at least 50% DEET. See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
If you are trying to conceive, travelling to ‘at-risk countries’ is not advised.
For more information on the Zika virus and advise, you can speak to one our travel nurses during a travel consultation.
We’d always recommend for travellers to book a 30-minute travel consultation with a travel nurse prior to travelling to ensure all necessary vaccinations are given and any risks are discussed.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | February 2019
We’re celebrating International Nurses’ Day with stories from our wonderful nurses about why they became a nurse.
Each one of them has a special story to share as to why they chose to become a nurse. We are so fortunate to have them working here at the Fleet Street Clinic. We’re celebrating who they are and all the incredible work they do for their patients on a daily basis.
I trained as a nurse in 2013 at City University based at Bart’s Hospital, London. After working for two years in sexual health, I undertook a Diploma in Tropical Nursing at the University of Liverpool. I have always had an interest in infectious and tropical diseases, and a huge passion for travel. After volunteering in Ecuador and Kenya, I completed a masters in Nursing with my research based in Bolivia. Working overseas exposed me to the burden of tropical diseases in other areas of the world, and travel medicine seemed to be a good fit for me.
I am able to educate patients about healthy travel and how to prevent tropical diseases. I also love to travel. It is really rewarding to be able to give someone good advice about a destination when you have visited. No consultation is the same, and I love the variety of people I see. In one day I have helped people prepare for deployment in a humanitarian crisis, a couple backpacking around the world, a family moving abroad, and television crew working in remote settings.
I have gained a formal qualification in travel medicine, and have also diversified my practice to incorporate Occupational Health as part of my remit. My role is rather a niche and unique in the nursing field but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I began my nursing career after returning from a life-changing gap year in Australia. After working as a health care assistant at a brain injury hospital, where the majority of my family have worked in at one point in time, I decided to pursue a career in nursing. I enjoy building relationships with the patients and meeting new people. After qualifying in 2013, I moved to Bristol where I worked in the cardiology ward and admissions department. I was also a bank nurse, which involved me working different shifts on various departments around the hospital. I gained a breadth of experience in all fields.
One of the most memorable moments as a nurse was on an incredibly stressful night shift. I was a Junior Nurse. A patient left me a plate of strawberries and a note which said ‘You’re doing amazingly. Well done- you are a great nurse’. I will never forget those kind words and the confidence boost it gave me to get through the night.
I joined Fleet Street Clinic in January 2018 and haven’t looked back since. My passion for travel and nursing work brilliantly in my role as a travel nurse. I have also had the opportunity to further my skills by completing a qualification in Travel Health.
I love working at Fleet Street Clinic, it really is the perfect job.
I grew up in Brighton and had a passion for science and communicating with different people, so nursing seemed the best fit for me. I moved to London to train and qualify as a registered nurse at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. I was appointed Staff Nurse at St Mary’s where I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the ‘Casualty’ department which is now known as A+E. I later moved on to St Thomas’s Hospital where I was appointed Senior Staff Nurse and later Senior Sister on a medical ward.
I took a break from my nursing career to have my two children. Soon after I was back working in GP practices as a ‘Treatment Room’ Nurse, which is now known as a Practice Nurse. I gained many skills and loved working with the patients and forming lasting relationships and friendships.
After 42 years working for the NHS, I decided to retire and hang up my nurse’s hat. However, when I saw the job at The Fleet Street Clinic I decided that I had areas of expertise I did not want to let go. I joined in April 2018 and have been working here for just over a year. I love the buzz of working at Fleet Street. I love the team and I love meeting new patients every day.
Visit our nurses at Fleet Street Clinic. Contact us today.
Panama sits on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. With its cloud forests, coffee farms, magical islands, world-class diving and a canal that connects two oceans, many people choose to make Panama their holiday destination.
If you plan to go, follow our travel tips to have a safe and healthy holiday.
Vaccinations for vacation
It is advised that all travellers be up-to-date with Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Polio. Higher risk travellers may want to consider vaccinations against Typhoid, Rabies and Hepatitis B. It is best to speak with a travel expert to see what they advise for you.
Prevent mosquito bites
It is no longer necessary to take anti-malarial medication if visiting Panama. However, precautions against mosquito bites should be taken as viruses such as dengue fever, Zika virus and chikungunya can be transmitted in the region. Pack some insect repellent with at least 50% DEET, and take a mosquito net if you plan to stay in traditional accommodation that may not provide one. You can help protect yourself from mosquitos with our Ultimate Bug Kit.
Find out if you need a Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow Fever exists east of the Panama canal. If you plan to visit this area the vaccination is recommended. Also, those who plan to enter Panama from a country that has a risk of Yellow Fever (such as Colombia) will need to be in possession of a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate.
Pack a first aid kit
A first aid kit with necessary medication and first aid items is a good idea. Accessing medical care and medical supplies in parts of the region can be difficult, especially for those who plan to visit the San Blas Islands, cloud forests or coffee farms. Those who plan on diving in the Bocas del Toro may wish to take out items such as ear drops for an infection, and antiseptic cream for any coral cuts.
Don’t get travel sick
A huge attraction in Panama is the coastline and archipelago, including the San Blas and the Pearl Islands. Accessing parts of Panama often involves long bumpy journeys by road and boat trips to the islands can often be choppy. If you suffer from travel sickness, ensure you pack medication to prevent this, and take it before you set out on the journey to prevent feeling queasy.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | January 2019
Be sun smart on the slopes
Even if it is snowing, don’t assume that the sun’s rays are safe. The sun’s rays reflect off the snow and intensify them. Ensure you wear a high factor SPF, and use lip balm to prevent cracking. Polarised sunglasses that wrap around will prevent the UV rays causing damage to your eyes.
Don’t get caught out in the cold
Winter temperatures on the slopes often fall below zero, putting travellers at risk of cold-related injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite. When travelling in cold climates, ensure you wear warm clothing in layers. Heat is rapidly lost through hands and feet, so wearing a hat and gloves will help minimise heat loss.
Stopping altitude sickness at the summit
Some of Europes best slopes are found at altitudes higher than 2500m putting skiers at risk of altitude sickness. If you plan on skiing from the summits, make sure you prepare. Know the altitude you are going to, and recognise the symptoms of altitude sickness. Skiers could consider the use of altitude sickness medication acetazolamide (more commonly knows as Diamox) to prevent developing altitude related illness.
If you would like more travel advice we’d recommend an appointment with one of our travel nurses.
Book your travel appointment today
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | November 2018
Christmas is coming and who doesn’t enjoy a Christmas market (or two!) A popular Christmas city break destination is Germany and visiting the fantastic Christmas markets is top of most travellers to-do list.
Read our advice on how to stay healthy during a winter city break in Germany:
Coughs, sneezes and Christmas wheezes
Christmas markets can be crowded places. A combination of cold damp weather and crowded areas means that it is easy to pick up a viral infection. Preventing the common cold can be helped by observing good hand hygiene to avoid that transfer on infection. If you do start with the sniffles, ensure you use a tissue to ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ to stop the spread to others.
Don’t let the flu spoil your festive fun. In the Northern Hemisphere, seasonal influenza occurs during the winter months, with peak season around Christmas. Flu is spread from one person to another via coughing and sneezing and it very contagious in populated areas. It can, however, be easily prevented with a single flu vaccine, which ideally should be given several weeks before the ‘flu season’ begins to provide optimal protection.
Have a Merry measle-free Market
In recent years, many countries in Europe have seen dramatic surges in the cases of measles. Measles is an acute viral infection that has the potential for severe complications. Merry market goers should ensure that they have received 2 doses of the measles-containing vaccination, commonly known as the MMR, to ensure they have adequate protection against the disease.
If you would like more travel advice we’d recommend an appointment with one of our travel nurses.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | November 2018
Have a bug-free beach life
Apart from causing an itch and inflammation, mosquitoes can leave more than just an irritation.
In the Caribbean, they have the ability to transmit diseases such as Dengue Fever, Zika Virus and Chikungunya.
Mosquito bite avoidance is recommended, here are our recommendations on how:
- Cover up with clothing
- Use insect repellents containing a minimum of 50% DEET on any exposed skin
- Consider treating clothes with permethrin
- Sleep under bed nets and use insect screens on doors.
- Reduce mosquito breeding sites by removing any water containers from outdoor areas
- Use air-conditioning
- Consider the use of plug-in electrical vaporisers which deter mosquitoes
- Use our Ultimate Bug Kit.
Dengue Fever & Chikungunya
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent either dengue nor chikungunya in travellers. However, without mosquitoes, individual sufferers are not directly contagious.
The risk for both diseases is thought to be higher during periods of intense mosquito feeding activity (two to three hours after dawn and during the early evening).
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent the ZIKV infection in travellers. Those infected with the infection normally have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they are usually mild and short-lived. Serious complications and deaths are not common.
The concerns with the Zika virus and primarily to do with birth defects and as a result pregnant women should postpone non-essential travel until after pregnancy. More information on Zika Virus and pregnancy concerns from Public Health England.
So say ‘zip off’ to zika and ‘do one’ dengue and enjoy a bug-free beach life!
If you would like more travel advice we’d recommend an appointment with one of our travel nurses. You can book your travel appointment online.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | November 2018
Autumn in Japan
Japan’s Autumn runs from September – November and attracts many visitors each year to view the beautiful changing of the Autumn foliage, known as koyo.
Taking outings to appreciate the beauty of autumn has been a custom in Japan for centuries. For many years now, this has become a popular activity for tourists too. Visitors explore the whole country to find the best ‘Autumn’ spots to view the natural beauty of landscapes bursting with yellow, orange and red leaves.
This activity tends to divert travellers away from the urban cities and into rural environments. Unfortunately, this increases exposure to some harmful diseases.
If you’re planning a trip to Japan this autumn….check out our travel vaccination advice.
Whether you are visiting the ultra-modern counterpart of Tokyo or taking a trip to Japan’s must-see landmark of Mount Fiji, traveller’s should ensure they are up-to-date with their tetanus vaccine. The vaccination is a combination vaccine with diphtheria and polio (DTP), which is routinely given to all children in the UK. However, you should ensure you and your children are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations before travelling. The vaccine can be given once every 10 years to those at risk.
Arm yourself with Insect Repellent
You can catch a number of diseases from mosquito and tick bites. You can minimise your risk by wearing long loose clothing and wearing plenty of insect repellant with a minimum of 50% DEET. Our Ultimate Bug Kit is available to purchase online.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is transferred by mosquito bites. There is an increased risk for those travelling in rural areas with rice fields, marshlands, or pig farming areas. It is advised to avoid these areas, particularly during mosquito feeding times, dawn and dusk.
Those travelling to the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) should consider the Japanese Encephalitis vaccination as the highest risk season is typically April to December. Travellers with long-stays planned in rural area’s should also strongly consider the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine.
Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is transmitted by ticks and rarely by unpasteurised milk and dairy products. Travellers are at increased risk of exposure during outdoor activities in areas of vegetation (gardens, parks, meadows, forest fringes and glades). Ticks are usually most active between early spring and late autumn. We’d advise those travelling during that time to consider the TBE vaccination.
The main affected area is Hokkaido although there is a possible risk in Shimane Prefecture, Honshu.
Those travellers who aren’t planning on getting vaccinated should avoid eating and drinking unpasteurised milk products. We’d advise all adventurous eaters to consider the TBE vaccination prior to travelling.
Earlier this year we saw outbreaks of measles across the globe, including a large outbreak in Okinawa in Japan. Most countries routinely immunise children against measles, in combination with mumps and rubella (the MMR). However, if for some reason you or your child have missed this then receiving two doses of the MMR vaccination before travelling will give effective protection. A simple blood test can determine immunity. Those found non-immune should book in for the vaccinations prior to travel.
Seasonally Japan suffers from regular outbreaks of flu. Tokyo and other major metropolitan centres in Japan are very dense, which increases the spread of the flu. The flu vaccination available in the UK will dramatically reduce the chance of travellers catching the flu while abroad.
A flight from the UK to Japan are over 11 hours direct. Prolonged periods of immobility on long-haul flights pose a risk of developing a blood clot or, deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Travellers can minimise the risk of this by ensuring they keep mobile and hydrated on the flight, avoid wearing restrictive clothing, and wearing flight stockings to aid circulation.
Altitude illness in Japan
Rapid exposure to low amounts of oxygen at high elevation can cause altitude sickness. There are a number of places in Japan which are higher than 2,500 metres, such as Mt Fuji, 3,776m.
Travellers should avoid travelling from altitudes less than 1,200m to altitudes greater than 3,500m in a single day. An ascent above 3,000m should be gradual. Travellers should avoid increasing sleeping elevation by more than 500m per day. Also, ensure a rest day (at the same altitude) every three or four days.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | October 2018
Do you enjoy the great outdoors and active holidays? If so, you may be contemplating a trekking adventure. Top summer trekking destinations include Cotopaxi, Ecuador, the Atlas Mountain Range in Morocco, The Ladakh Ranges in India and Mont Blanc in the French Alps.
Fleet Street Clinic offers travel tips for trekkers from Anna Chapman, one of our specialist travel nurses, to help prepare for your holiday and make the most of your adventure.
- Ensure that you are up to date with vaccinations. Some regions in South America or Africa require you to provide evidence of Yellow Fever vaccination.
- The most common illness amongst travellers is upset stomachs. Pack hand sanitiser to use when soap and water for hand washing is unavailable. Take water purification tablets if you have not got access to safe water. Medicines such as rehydration salts and anti-motility medicines can be helpful if you do become unwell.
- Most trekking routes are at high altitudes. Understand the effects of altitude sickness. Take time to acclimatise to altitudes and consider taking medication such as Diamox to reduce the severity of acute altitude sickness.
- Look after your feet. Invest in good trekking boots, socks and wear them in before you go. Keep your feet dry when trekking by changing your socks and using foot powder. Zinc oxide tape or Compeed dressings can be helpful if you do get blisters.
- Pack suitable clothing. Trekking in mountain ranges usually involves variable temperatures: Warm days, thin air, strong sunshine and cool nights. Pack breathable clothing, a waterproof jacket and warm base layers. Sun protection is essential, especially in high altitude ranges, so apply the “Slip, Slop, Slap” rule. Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.
FLEET STREET TRAVEL CLINIC
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | July 2018
Bali ranks as one of the most popular destinations to visit in Asia. It is crowned as the jewel of the Pacific ocean, with its white powder beaches, tropical waters and lush green rain forests. However, those who seek out this tropical paradise will need to spend an average of 18 hours travel time to reach the island, and will need to take more than one flight.
Be aware, long haul flying can increase the risk of a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). A DVT can form in the legs when a person is immobile – usually in a confined space for a long period of time. The longer the period of immobility, the greater the risk of developing a DVT. It is also worth noting that a DVT can break off and travel through the veins to other parts of the body such as the lungs where it can be life threatening, while certain medications and medical conditions can increase an individuals chance of developing a DVT.
- Ensure you stay mobile. Get up regularly, and walk around the plane to keep your circulation going.
- Do exercises that help your calf muscles contract in order to aid circulation.
- Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes to prevent any physical restrictions.
- Consider wearing compression flight stockings.
The Fleet Street Clinic stock compression stockings, travel vaccines and medical travel kits. Our experience team of travel nurses can help advise with any queries or more information on Bali.
Travellers should also be up to date with vaccinations against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Vaccinations against Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies and Hepatitis B should also be considered.
FLEET STREET TRAVEL CLINIC
I’ve just returned from Montenegro, which is a beautiful country and still relatively undiscovered in terms of European tourist destinations. The beautiful beaches, Venetian towns and stunning scenery make a trip really worthwhile.
One of the great pleasures of travelling is to be able to enjoy local cuisine and gastronomic specialities of the region. It can help you discover the culture of a place and connect with local people in an authentic way.
However, the last thing you want is for travellers diarrhoea to ruin a trip. The majority of tummy trouble abroad happens in the first week of travel and is caused by bacterial infections (such as salmonella) which can’t be prevented by vaccination. They are found in unclean water and ill-prepared food, and the only defence against them is to be careful with food and water whilst away.
How to help avoid dodgy tummies while away:
- Ensure food is cooked and served hot immediately.
- Don’t eat unwashed or unpeeled raw fruit and vegetables.
- Don’t drink tap water – bottled water is easily available and those hiking or camping in remote areas will need to be prepared to purify water themselves
- Wash hands before each meal and after going to the toilet. Alcohol hand gel can be used when hand washing facilities are not available
- Avoid easting unpasteurised dairy produce.
You can buy a Worldwide Gastro Kit online to
Other items for considering when in Montenegro:
- Tick-borne encephalitis can be an issue in Montenegro for those travellers heading off into the mountainous regions during the summer months. Although primarily spread via the infected bite of a tick, the illness can also be contracted via unpasteurised dairy products, so best to avoid the traditional Montenegrin cheese that is offered in these areas. There is a vaccination against the illness that is highly effective.
- Consider a vaccination against Hepatitis A which can occur in areas of Montenegro where travellers cannot guarantee they have safe access to water. Those who are camping or hiking in remote areas should ensure that they have a way to secure a safe water supply, either by boiling water, using a filter or chlorine dioxide tablets. Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver and is vaccine preventable.
The Fleet Street Clinic stocks medication for travellers diarrhoea, medical travel kits and our experienced travel clinic nurses can help advise. If you’ve been on holiday and suffering from a lingering tummy bug, you can get a same-day diagnosis and medication using our PCR machine, you can email or call us to find out more.
Do I need vaccinations for Croatia?
The answer is, yes.
Croatia sits on the Dalmatian coast of Europe and is only a short flight from the UK. With abundant sunshine, long coastlines and fascinating history and architecture, Croatia is an enchanting country with so much to discover beyond Dubrovnik.
There is a common misconception that only far flung exotic destinations require travel vaccinations. This simply isn’t true. Whilst certain diseases such as malaria are found within the tropics, travellers to Europe should still seek out pre-travel advice to ensure that they are protected for their trip.
What vaccinations do I really need?
- You should be up to date with the diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccinations, which can be given every 10 years.
- Europe has seen large outbreaks of measles in recent years, so travellers should ensure that they have received 2 doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination (known as the MMR).
What about other vaccinations?
Depending on the activities you have planned for Croatia, you can consider additional vaccinations.
- If you can’t guarantee access to safe food and water, you should consider Hepatitis A vaccinations.
- If you plan to enjoy the countryside and activities such as hiking, camping, cycling, you may wish to consider vaccinations against Rabies and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
The Fleet Street Clinic stocks travel sickness medication, travel vaccines and medical travel kits. Our experienced travel clinic nurses can help advise with any queries or more information on Croatia.
Fleet Street Travel Clinic
Holidaying in the Greek Islands this year?
Island hopping in Greece is an enchanting way to explore the country’s vast collection of 6,000 islands. With whitewashed houses, tavernas and beautiful beaches at every stop, it’s a trip everyone should take once in their life.
There are many ferry routes between the mainland and islands. Some people can manage travelling by boat, whereas others may suffer from sea sickness. Days or weeks on a boat can be miserable for those who are prone to sea sickness, yet there are effective treatments and tips for those who are vulnerable to reduce the risk.
What is Sea Sickness?
Sea sickness is similar to motion sickness, caused by repetitive movements when travelling, like floating up and down on a current. The inner ear sends signals to your brain as well as signals from your vision, with the two signals contradicting each other it confuses the brain. These confusing messages cause you to feel unwell and can cause dizziness, vomiting and nausea.
Despite being common, those prone to travel sickness may wish to take sea-sickness medication with them if they intend to do any island hopping. There are some tips that you can take on board and put your body and mind at ease:
- Sit in the centre of the boat where the motion will be less aggressive
- Close your eyes or focus on a point on the horizon, this can help your inner ear balance.
- Avoid alcohol and large heavy meals, instead keep hydrated on water and eat smaller lighter meals
- Sucking on a mint or ginger sweet can help with nausea
- Seas Sickness medication tablets
- Patches that can be used to prevent sea-sickness
The Fleet Street Clinic stocks travel sickness medication, medical travel kits and our experienced travel clinic nurses can help advise.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | June 2018
Anna Chapman, one of our experienced Travel Nurses, gives her top 5 reasons why having a travel consultation is so important … food for thought if you’re planning a trip abroad.
1 – Reputable advice from a trusted source
Clinics that specialise in travel have practitioners who have completed extra qualifications in travel medicine, such as a Diploma in Travel Medicine, Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Certificate of Travel Health. These qualifications ensure the practitioner gets specialist knowledge that is kept up-to-date by attending conferences and participating in research in the field. Many practitioners who work in travel medicine have experienced health care abroad, through extensive personal travel or through working or volunteering. This means the travel advice that a patient receives is always current and accurate.
Our travel nurses at the Fleet Street Clinic have a Diploma in Tropical Nursing and a Certificate in Travel Health and both GPs have a Diploma in Travel Medicine and a Certificate in Travel Health. All the practitioners in our Travel Clinic have travelled extensively and practiced their profession in developing countries. This means they are more aware of the risks that travellers face and have a greater understanding of how to deal with health issues on the road.
2 – Personalised travel consultation
No two people are the same and no two travel itineraries are the same. Travel consultations take this into account and give detailed and bespoke travel advice, not only for the itinerary but also for the individual. Seeing a practitioner face-to-face means that personal risks can be evaluated to ensure all travel health needs are met, rather taking a “one size fits all” approach.
3 – Travel health is NOT just about travel vaccinations
Whilst vaccinations are important, there are many aspects to staying healthy while abroad. In addition to vaccinations, there are considerations such as avoiding insect bites, use of medical kits, coping with jet lag, use of stand-by medications and coping with altitude sickness – all things that can be discussed when you have a travel consultation
4 – On-going care
Just because you have had your vaccinations before your trip, it doesn’t mean that your care ends when you leave the clinic. Specialist clinics can provide on-going care for subsequent trips and/or post-travel health concerns
5 – Time to talk
When a clinic has a specialist travel service, ample time is allocated to each appointment. Having a team of dedicated staff committed to travel medicine means that appointments can be completely flexible and can accommodate individuals, groups or families, both at the clinic or off-site, as well as offering appointments for last minute travellers.
Just back from…East Timor
Our travel clinic nurse Anna has been travelling in East Timor, the South East Asian nation inhabiting half of the island of Timor, which became independent from Indonesia in 2002. Here, Anna shares with us her top travel health tips from the area.
Exploring East Timor
East Timor is ringed with rugged beaches and pristine coral reefs. It is one of the most exciting places to dive in the world.
Battling the bugs
Whilst vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis can be sought prior to travel, and malaria prophylaxis can be used, it is still essential to avoid getting bitten in the first place.
- Take plenty on insect repellent that contains at least 50% DEET. This can be hard to come by in country so stock up before you go. Ensure it is applied both day and night time, but especially during dawn and dusk. The sunrise and sunsets are beautiful in East Timor, but it does tend to be the highest period for mosquitoes.
- Take long trousers and a long sleeve tops to wear at dawn and dusk, especially if sitting outside in the morning and early evenings when mosquito activity is at its highest.
- Take a mosquito net. The majority of accommodation on the coastal areas is basic, thatched huts and windows with shutters, meaning mosquitos have a free passage from the outside into your sleeping quarters. Make sure the the net is treated with permethrin, kept down over your bed to avoid unwanted mosquitoes invading your bed space.
- Plug in vaporisers can be useful to use to prevent mosquitoes entering your room. Unfortunately, many areas in Timor do not have access to continuous electricity, making electrical vaporisers rather ineffective. Instead use mosquito coils which can be burned like an incense stick to provide up to 10 hours of mosquito relief.
- After-bite cream. Even with the best of intentions, people can still be bitten. Taking a steroid based bite cream will help to reduce the itch and inflammation associated with any mosquito bites you many encounter.
To help keep mosquitos at bay, you can purchase our Ultimate Bug Kit online.
Fleet Street Travel Clinic
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | May 2018
Tick-borne encephalitis in Sweden
The summer months are great for exploring Scandinavia. What many people don’t realise is that vaccinations against Tick-borne encephalitis should be considered if your travel plans take you out into the countryside. If you plan on spending time in forested areas, particularly around Gothenburg, Upland, Sodermanland and the Islands around Stockholm, you could be at risk of the disease.
What is Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE) ?
TBE is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system. It is spread via the bite of a tick, or by ingesting unpasteurised milk and dairy precasts from animals that carry the diseases. Transmission season is usually in the summer months between April and October. There is an effective vaccination available against tick borne encephalitis to prevent the disease. It requires 2 vaccinations 14 days apart with a booster dose given 1 year later.
Other countries that have a risk of the disease include Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, Finland, China and Japan.
In addition to the vaccination, preventing tick bites is really important, especially if you plan to do outdoor activities such as camping, hiking in rural areas during transmission seasons.
You can prevent ticks by:
- Wearing DEET insect repellent with a minimum of 50% DEET concentration.
- Wearing long trousers and tucking them into your socks, and shirts with long sleeves.
- Treating clothes with permethrin.
- Inspecting your body for ticks and removing them promptly.
- You can purchase out Ultimate Bug Kit.
Although rabies is not present in terrestrial animals in Sweden, bats can still carry the virus. Those travellers who plan on exploring caves, such as in Abisko in Lapland may wish to consider being immunised against rabies prior to travel.
Fleet Street Travel Clinic
Travel Tips for a Kenya Trip of a Lifetime
Wandering with wildebeests this summer?
The spectacular wildebeest migration sees over 2 million animals traverse the plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania into the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. The best time to witness this breathtaking event this year is in June.
If you’re planning to travel to East Africa this summer, here are our top tips for staying healthy:
- Be sensible with food and water to avoid travellers’ diarrhoea. See our worldwide gastro kits.
- Take a small first aid kit with you for minor injuries and illnesses, including medications for upset stomachs. Parks can often be located far from medical help and have medical facilities with varying health standards.
- Although the main attraction on a safari is the wildlife, remember that rabies exists throughout Africa. Whilst most cases result from dog bites, all mammals have the potential to transmit the virus, and treatment can be difficult to obtain. It is advisable to obtain vaccinations prior to travel.
- Mosquitoes and insects are ubiquitous in game parks, especially around watering holes. They carry diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness. Take precautions against insect bites by covering up with long loose clothing, wearing insect repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net at night. You can also purchase our Ultimate Bug Kit.
- With Kenya lying on the equator, the sun’s rays are extremely powerful. Be sun safe by wearing a high factor sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat.
- Wear light, long-sleeved clothing. Avoid dark clothing – Tse Tse flies are attracted to dark blue colours and can cause sleeping sickness.
- Ensure you receive your pre travel vaccinations which should include Diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP), Hepatitis A and Typhoid, Rabies, Hepatitis b.
- Don’t forget to take malaria tablets as all of Tanzania poses a risk of malaria.
- Whilst the Yellow Fever vaccination is not usually recommended for travellers to Tanzania, it may be recommended for parts of Kenya. Additionally , travellers may need to present proof of the vaccinations on entry, depending upon their flight route and countries travelled. Ensure you get up to date advice.
Fleet Street Travel Clinic
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | May 2018