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
STUDENTS URGED TO GET MENINGITIS ACWY VACCINATION
Public Health England is encouraging students and university freshers to get the Meningitis ACWY vaccination before they start college or university this autumn. Cases of meningitis have risen rapidly since 2009 due to a particularly virulent strain of the Men W & Men B bacteria.
The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W, and Y.
WHAT IS MENINGITIS W?
Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal meningitis (Men W) is a highly serious form of bacterial meningitis that can lead to septicaemia. It is spread by droplets that come from a person who is infected with the bacteria.
Although the strain is most likely to affect babies, statistics reveal that older children, teenagers, and adults are also at risk. In recent times, cases amongst normally healthy teenagers have spiked and the fatality percentage is higher with Meningitis W than it is with the most common strains, Meningitis B and C.
Early symptoms of Meningitis W include headaches, fever, vomiting, cold feet and hands or muscular pain. All of which could be mistaken for stress or a heavy night out, which is one of the theories as to why students are such high-risk.
Protection against this strain of Meningitis W is provided through the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. Only one dose is required. We also carry an excellent stock of the Meningitis B vaccine and can provide both vaccinations at the same time should you require it.
Other Vaccines that are recommended for students starting University:
- Every year different flu strains circulate and infect millions of people. Being exposed to a new pool of infections in University accommodation can increase the risk of catching the flu. Having the flu jab before you go to University will help protect you against the flu and stop you getting sick.
- Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection which is spread in the same way as the flu. Coughing, sneezing and kissing can rapidly spread the infection, especially in the close quarters of student accommodation.
- Measles is a very infectious viral infection which is also spread by coughing and sneezing. There have been multiple outbreaks of Measles around the world including the UK this year, so it’s important to make sure you are protected as you socialise with new peers.
Both Mumps and Measles can be prevented by safe and effective vaccination, MMR.
- If you are from outside the UK, you should be vaccinated against tuberculosis (TB) before you enter the UK. A weakened strain of tuberculosis, the BCG Vaccine, is injected to protect against the infection. Those unsure of their immunity can have a simple Mantoux test to confirm.
- HPV is a common virus that is passed on via genital contact. There are more than 100 HPV types which infect genital areas. Sometimes they cause no harm and the infection can go away on its own. However, the virus can persist and cause cells to change which can lead to genital warts or some forms of cancer. The HPV vaccine is offered at our clinic for girls and boys to protect against HPV.
- Tetanus is a rare condition caused by bacteria entering a wound. We recommend making sure you are up to date with your DTP vaccinations and boosters before leaving for university. This vaccine protects against tetanus as well as Diptheria and Polio. Don’t let a cut or burn ruin your freshers week.
VACCINATION AT THE FLEET STREET CLINIC
Fleet Street Clinic offers a friendly environment and a team of experienced medics to administer all vaccinations. We meet rigorous quality management standards to ensure we offer you the highest standards of clinical care: you can feel confident you are in safe hands.
Secure your peace of mind by ensuring you are protected. Get your vaccines before university starts to receive protection in time.
Bosnia is where East meets West.
It is a country on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe and has become somewhat a destination for adventurous travellers.
Beautiful Ottoman architecture, rugged mountains, captivating castles, raft-able rivers, and humble hiking trails are all reasons why travellers are choosing Bosnia as their next travel destination. The unveiling of the Via Dinarica mega hiking trail means the number of tourists to the Balkan country of Bosnia Hercegovina is expected to rise steeply. The 1930km trail provides a corridor linking traditional cultures between the former Yugoslavian nations. So whether you plan to mill about the city of Mostar, stroll the streets of Sarajevo, or take a hike in the hillside, ensure you follow our top travel tips to stay healthy.
All travellers are advised to be in date with their routine immunisations, including diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP) and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Europe has seen huge outbreaks of measles this year alone, so all travellers should make sure they have received at least two doses of the measles-containing vaccination. A simple blood test can be done for all those who are unsure about their immunity. Some travellers may wish to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. The activities you plan to do whilst travelling will determine which vaccines would be required. If you have any doubts or concerns, we also suggest booking a pre-travel consultation with a specialist travel nurse to discuss your options.
Trekking and Ticks
Bosnia offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Those who plan to take advantage of the great outdoors should strongly consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). TBE is a bacterial infection. Usually, it is spread through an infected tick bite. However, during Spring to Autumn, the consumption of unpasteurised dairy produce also carries a risk. Contracting the illness causes a fever with neurological complications. It is vaccine-preventable. Protection requires 2 doses of the vaccination, given at least 2-weeks apart. A third dose is given 5-12 months later to give longterm protection. You should also avoid ticks by wearing long trousers and socks. Using DEET insect repellant should also repel them.
If you spot a tick on you, it needs to be removed promptly. Use some flat tweezers or a tick remover and clean the bite with alcohol to reduce the risk of infection.
See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
Rabies is a fatal virus that can be found in the saliva of an infected mammal. Most commonly a wild dog. Exposure can happen through a bite, scratch or a lick to an open area of the skin. You cannot catch rabies from another person and it cannot spread through unbroken skin. You should, where possible avoid contact with animals when travelling, especially wild or stay animals.
Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear, but treatment before this is very effective. Pre-travel rabies vaccination offers great protection. And means that in the unlikely event you come into contact with the rabies virus, fast and effective treatment can be given easily and in the country of the incident.
Pre-travel rabies protection requires a series of 3 vaccinations given as injections into your upper arm. Your vaccines will be given over a 3-week period, or over 1 week if an accelerated course is needed, prior to travel. Travellers at greater risk are those who plan to do outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, cycling or caving. You should consider a rabies vaccine if you plan to do any of these activities whilst visiting Bosnia.
First Aid Kit
For those trekking in the hills, packing good basic first aid kit is essential. When travelling in rural areas, access to healthcare can be limited. Travelling with a medical kit will give you access to basic provisions needed to treat minor injuries and pains.
Basic provisions include pain relief, plasters and medication to treat an upset stomach, such as loperamide and oral rehydration salts. If access to safe water may be limited, consider packing chlorine dioxide tablets. 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. If you take regular prescription medication, ensure you pack enough for the duration of your trip and carry the prescription with you.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | August 2019
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Brazil: Yellow Fever
The incidence of Yellow Fever cases in Brazil has been increasing recently, with over 1000 cases of Yellow Fever in Brazil since July 2017. The cases were reported in Sao Paolo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Espiritu Santo and Distrito Federal.
As well as an increase in human cases of yellow fever, 738 cases of yellow fever virus in monkeys have been reported. Since the outbreak, several unvaccinated travellers have contracted yellow fever, and there has been at least one death. Due to the ongoing outbreak, travellers going to at risk areas of Brazil are advised to get the Yellow Fever vaccination.
In addition the World Health Organisation also advised travellers heading to the states of Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul should receive the vaccination, irrespective of location.
What is Yellow Fever?
Yellow Fever is a flavirus found in the tropics of Africa and South America.
Monkeys are a natural carrier for the virus and it is spread between monkeys and humans via the bite of an aedes mosquito.
Illness: It causes an acute viral illness which has a 50% mortality rate.
Prevention: The yellow fever vaccination should be considered for travellers who are visiting a high risk area. A single vaccination affords life long protection. The vaccination many not be suitable for everyone, so ensure you seek a full travel consultation.
Map of current areas with a risk of Yellow Fever
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | February 2019
The risk of rabies is still widely unknown to the general public.
If caught and symptoms develop, rabies is almost invariably fatal.
Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal and is present in over 150 countries worldwide. Up to 100 children die each day from rabies, and more than 55,000 people a year are killed from the disease, mainly in Asia and Africa.
If bitten or scratched by an infected animal you need to act quickly. Even with pre-travel vaccinations, a course of post-exposure vaccinations are required to prevent disease. If you haven’t had pre-travel vaccinations, the treatment is much more intense. If treatment is given correctly and promptly after exposure, then rabies can be cured but once symptoms develop, it is too late.
Some countries are deemed high-risk of rabies.
Considering this, it’s alarming when we experience resistance from travellers who feel this vaccination isn’t necessary for travel, especially if they are visiting a high risk location.
We feel so passionately that if you are travelling somewhere with a known risks of rabies it only seems sensible to protect yourself against it. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease, so make sure you get vaccinated before you travel.
For more information on rabies and travel health, visit our rabies page here.
The Fleet Street Clinic is passionate about travel. We have provided rabies vaccinations for over 20 years. Our team of expert travel medical professionals provide advice and detailed consultations to ensure you have a healthy trip.
Ask the average person what viral disease they think claims the most lives, and HIV might be the likely response. However, this is not so, according to research in the Lancet. The research suggests that viral hepatitis caused 1.45m deaths in 2013 compared to 1.2m lives claimed by AIDS in 2014. What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is best defined as an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis virus. There are 5 types of hepatitis virus called; A,B,C,D and E. Contaminated food is usually the cause of virus types A and E. Types B, C and D are spread via infected bodily fluid contact. Virus types B and C lead to the most deaths.
Hepatitis A and B are vaccine preventable. Many countries offer these vaccines routinely on the childhood schedule but this is not the case in the UK.
Hepatitis Vaccination at the Fleet Street Clinic
Vaccinations are needed to give protection against hepatitis A and B and they currently are not part of the childhood vaccination schedule in the UK. At the Fleet Street Clinic, we make it a priority to have a good supply of hepatitis A and B vaccines for children all year round. The hepatitis vaccinations can be given individually, or as a combined injection. For long lasting protection, several doses are required. Our vaccination team are highly trained, well-qualified and have dozens of years’ experience between them. Our vaccination service takes place in a clean, comfortable and safe environment.
You can learn more about our vaccinations here.
While hepatitis is causing millions of fatalities across the globe, you can take steps towards protection against the virus by booking an appointment for hepatitis vaccinations at Fleet Street Clinic today.
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
2016 Swine Flu Update
Rates of ‘swine flu’ (H1N1) infection have spiked within the EU and is spreading rapidly across eastern Europe and the Middle East. If you have any plans to travel it is advisable to be vaccinated prior to departure.
Influenza is starting to spread across the UK. Currently the impact so far this winter has been smaller than last winter, however a hospital in Leicester has stopped admitting new patients due to a number of patients contracting the H1N1 virus which is a serious strain of the virus. H1N1 tends to affect children, pregnant women and adults with long-term health conditions that place them in the “at risk” category.
Flu Vaccinations Available Now in London
The 2015 – 16 flu vaccine, available now at The Fleet Street Clinic, for the northern hemisphere protects against H1N1, H3N2 and one or two of the B virus strains, which is well matched to the strains circulating currently. The vaccine is therefore expected to provide very good protection against swine flu.
It’s not too late for people to get the vaccine, this remains important now that flu is circulating. You don’t even need to make an appointment, just pop into see us on your lunch break and we can have you vaccinated and on your way in under ten minutes.
For more information head to head to Medscape.com for all the latest info and updates.