Travel Tips Thursday - Namibia Safari

19.06.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

A safari in Namibia is a unique experience in Africa. It has the highest sand dunes on the continent, the world’s oldest and uninhabited deserts, the Skeleton Coast and a lush jungle to the north. Whatever you have planned on your trip, ensure you follow our top travel tips to stay healthy.

Vaccines

All travellers need to ensure they are up-to-date with Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP). These are your basic traveller vaccine requirements. You may wish to consider further vaccinations against Rabies and Hepatitis B.

There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Namibia, however, travellers who will arrive in Namibia having transited from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever will be required to be in possession of a valid Yellow Fever Certificate.
Countries this would apply to include Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. For the full list of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission as per the World Health Organisation.

For more information on our vaccines, please visit our travel and wellness vaccination pages.

Malaria

There is a risk of malaria in the northern areas of Namibia of the Kunene River, Caprivi and Kavango regions and Etosha National Park. Windhoek, Swakopmund and the Skeleton coast have a low risk of malaria. If you intend to visit malarial regions, ensure that you take the antimalarial medication with you. Mosquitoes that are responsible for the spread of malaria are most active between dusk and dawn, and therefore you need to be extra cautious during this time against mosquito bites.

Insects

Ticks, flies and mosquitoes all have the ability to transmit unpleasant disease in Namibia. The best prevention against these diseases is to avoid mosquito bites. Cover up as much as possible and apply a minimum concentration of 50% DEET to any areas of exposed skin. Clothes can be treated with permethrin before setting off to provide an extra level of protection. Sleep under a mosquito net especially if you plan to stay anywhere remote or rural.

See our Ultimate Bug Kit.

Food and water

Travellers should exercise caution with food and water when travelling to Namibia to avoid tummy troubles. Do not drink tap water in Namibia, stick to bottled water or water that has been boiled. If you are undertaking a self-drive trip and plan camping in remote areas it is 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. The Namib Desert is one of the aridest in the world so always ensure you pack extra water.

See our Worldwide Gastro Kit to help with any travellers tummy troubles.

Book your travel appointment online today.

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | June 2019

Travelling abroad this summer?

10.05.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

With summer just around the corner, many are busy shopping for essentials. Sun cream, swimwear and toiletries are more likely on the list rather than travel vaccines. Many forget to check if they are up-to-date on the recommended travel vaccines.  To make sure you get full enjoyment out of your holidays it’s important to stay safe during and after your break.

Below we have highlighted some health concerns you need to know if you are travelling this Summer:

Measles:


Throughout this year we have seen an increased rise in measles cases all over the world. The disease can be easily prevented with two doses of the safe and efficient MMR vaccine.  A review of your childhood vaccine records will indicate if you have had the MMR course or if in need of a booster or the full course. Those struggling to confirm their immunity can have a simple immunity blood test which will either confirm if they are immune or not. 

Hepatitis:


When visiting areas with poor sanitation, which can affect the water and food consumed, travellers, should consider the Hepatitis A vaccination. A safe and effective vaccination which prevents the viral infection and stop travellers falling ill whilst away. In addition to the vaccination, travellers also should take caution and ensure all food is cooked thoroughly and served hot, stick to bottled water which is sealed and avoid ice (usually tap water).

Hepatitis B is a viral infection spread by contaminated blood and bodily fluids. Examples in which travellers can be at risk are contaminated medical equipment which may be used in an emergency for example needles and syringes. Hepatitis B can also be prevented with a vaccine course before travelling.

Malaria:


Every year there are more than 200 million new cases of malaria, another preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organizations lists 91 countries and territories at risk of malaria transmission. Preventative medication can be taken to reduce the risk of catching Malaria as there is currently no vaccination.

Infectious diarrhoea:


In about 20% of travellers with diarrhoea, more than one bug turns out to be responsible for the illness. Bugs can be caught from drinking tap water and eating uncooked food or salads washed in tap water. It can put a dampener on holiday plans and make you feel under the weather. Antibiotics can be prescribed prior to travel, in case of a severe infection. Our gastro kit is designed to help travellers who may need medication to help cases of infectious diarrhoea whilst travelling.

“There may be avoidable risks to your health depending on your overall health, destination and planned travel activities. We can assess the risks and provide you with the best travel health advice to ensure you have an enjoyable trip and return healthy.”

Richard Dawood, Medical Director of the Fleet Street Clinic. 


If you wish to discuss how to stay safe on holiday or would like more advice on what vaccinations you may need, our travel nurses can help. Book a travel consultation to discuss your needs.

Travel Tips Thursday - Sri Lanka

19.01.2019 Category: Travel Health Author: Lucy Mildren

Sri Lanka was recently voted as the number one country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Our travel nurse Lucy spent two weeks exploring this award-winning country and here, she shares her top tips for a healthy trip.

January is an ideal time to visit Sri Lanka thanks to warm temperatures and clear skies. From tea tasting to surfing, hiking to whale watching, this ancient spice island has something for everyone.

Safari

If you are a wildlife lover, taking a guided jeep tour into one of Sri Lanka’s National parks is a must! Amongst the most popular are Yala and Udawalawe, where you are guaranteed to spot elephants by the dozen and if you’re fortunate a leopard. Prepare to wake up early and pack your mosquito repellent – most jeeps leave at dawn for the best chance of sightings, but mosquitos are also the most active during this time.

Although Sri Lanka is currently a Zika free zone, making it a popular choice for honeymooners, it is important to remember that mosquitos transmit other diseases such as Dengue and Chikungunya. Good bite protection is therefore essential and should include a mosquito repellent containing 50% Deet, as well as wearing long and loose clothing – also good for keeping the sun off your skin! Protect yourself from mosquitos with our Ultimate Bug Kit.

Train Rides

With new and improved services throughout the country, train travel is a highlight of any Sri Lankan trip and widely considered as some of the most scenic in the world. The most famous stretch is between Ella and Kandy; a journey that will last around 7 hours and takes you through lush jungle, tea plantations and waterfalls. Remember your antibacterial hand sanitiser though, because, as convenient as the onboard toilet is on a long journey, hand washing facilities aren’t always of a good standard. Perhaps pack some tissue as well!

Curries

Sri Lankan food is delicious and an essential part of the culture. As with all travel to tropical destinations, however, caution should be taken when trying out the local delicacies because contaminated food can cause travellers’ diarrhoea. So, before you sample the famous string hoppers and sambal, here are some simple food and water precautions to avoid an upset stomach:

  • Make sure your food is served piping hot. Be cautious of food that has been sitting at room temperatures such as buffet and street food.
  • Only drink bottled water, with an intact seal. This applies to the water you use to brush your teeth and the ice in your drinks.
  • Avoid salads and uncooked vegetables that may have been washed in contaminated water.
  • Always peel your fruit. If you can’t – don’t eat it.
  • Ensure dairy products are pasteurised – many harmful organisms are transmitted through unpasteurised dairy.

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.

Travellers’ diarrhoea is a common complaint in the returning traveller here at Fleet Street Clinic. If you are still experiencing stomach troubles on your return, our GP’s can run same day PCR testing to find the cause and most appropriate treatment.

If you would like aa travel appointment, you can book online

By Lucy Mildren |  Travel Nurse | January 2019

Mexico... Dia de  Los Muertos

19.10.2018 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

November is an optimum time of year to travel to Mexico. Uncrowded beaches with cheaper hotels and air travel are all perks for those who want an affordable and relaxing trip.
Summer in Mexico can be too hot for some, with highs of 32 degrees. Whereas, Winter temperatures are much more comfortable, with highs of 24 degrees instead. Hurricane season has also finished, the rain has let up and the crowds that appear later in December are yet to arrive.
Many prefer a winter visit.
Dia de Los Muertos is Mexico’s most colourful and festive holiday; celebrated from October 31 to November 2. ‘Day of the Dead’ is an incredible expression of Mexico’s religious syncretism and a tradition that dates back centuries. It celebrates and honours friends and relatives who have died. Festivities take place in Central and Southern Mexico with elaborately decorated home altars, parades, parties and nighttime visits to the gravestones of loved ones. Expect many candles, flamboyantly decorated skull-shaped masks and music.

Be warned of mad dogs, wild cats and blood-sucking bats…

Mexico has a high risk of rabies which is a fatal disease if left untreated. The rabies infection is spread through a bite, scratch or lick of an infected animal. You should avoid contact with feral animals or wildlife at all costs. Try to anticipate an animal’s actions and always be careful not to make sudden movements or surprise them.
Travellers can minimise the risk by receiving a rabies vaccination prior to travel. As rabies is a fairly common traveller’s risk, we try to make this particular vaccine affordable for all travellers. You can 
proactively minimise your risk of contracting rabies, putting your mind a ease for your holiday.
If you suspect you’ve been bitten by an animal with rabies, even after having the rabies vaccine, you should seek medical care immediately.

Banish the bugs

Apart from causing an itchy and painful bite, Mexican mosquitoes can spread viruses such as dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika virus. It is advised to use an insect repellent containing 50% DEET, wear long loose clothing, and take a plug-in vaporiser. We have an Ultimate Bug Kit available to order online. All of these will ensure your room stays mosquito free and you, bite free!
The Zika virus is of particular concern to those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Specialist advice should be sought before travel. Our Central London clinic offers Zika Virus testing. Our expert team will give you clear, practical advice on the right test for your individual circumstance. Following the test, we can help you interpret the results and assist in planning your next step towards starting a family.

Don’t get the day of the dead diarrhoea
While Mexican food is delicious, travellers should apply some necessary precautions to prevent picking up stomach bugs which could ruin your holidays. We recommend that travellers avoid tap water and ice in their drinks. It’s advisable to stick to bottled water only as this reduces your risk. Also, do ensure your food is cooked through and served hot. To help get prepared, we recommend purchasing one of our Worldwide Gastro Kits.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection which is spread via contaminated food and water. Washing your hands regularly, especially after using the toilet can stop the spread of Hepatitis A. A sensible tip would be to take some alcohol hand gel with you to clean your hands before eating. Make sure you have received a vaccination against Hepatitis A before departure.

FLU
There are many celebrations throughout the year in Mexico, such as ‘Revolution Day’ on November 20th. Large crowds will gather to celebrate the 1910 revolution anniversary. This is a unique celebration for a tourist to experience but unfortunately, large crowds increase your risk of catching and spreading germs.
Factors that can increase the risk of getting sick at a mass gathering include the number of people in attendance, the type of venue, the type of infections people carry into it and also how people interact with each other.
The Flu can spread rapidly as the bacteria and viruses can easily be passed from one person to the other by a simple cough or sneeze. The best way to prevent flu is to get your flu jab before departure.

Don’t let your health ruin your holiday to Mexico.
You should take what are reasonable, practical, prevention steps to stay well and enjoy your trip to Mexico.

Book your travel appointment today

By Anna Chapman |  Travel Nurse | October 2018

How to calm your flight anxiety before you fly

Read more

Travel Tips Thursday: Montenegro

19.06.2018 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

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.