Why Immunisations Are So Important When Travelling Overseas

by Julia on July 11, 2019

If you are planning a trip overseas you have a lot to think about – flights, insurance, what to pack, where to stay, and what to do while you’re away.

However, make sure you don’t forget one very important preparation in the midst of all of this: your immunisations. Making sure you have all of the required immunisations for your destination prior to travelling overseas is absolutely essential.

It is very easy to find clinics to provide travel vaccinations in Birmingham, Manchester, London and essentially any city or large town in the UK. Arranging to have your required vaccinations is not difficult, nor is it overly expensive, at least not compared to the cost of an overseas trip.

So really there is no excuse for not getting all your required immunisations before heading off overseas. However, in case you needed more convincing, here are the reasons why vaccinations are so important for international travellers.

You Are At Risk Of Serious Diseases When Travelling

If you live in a developed country like the UK, the US, Western Europe or Australia, you are very lucky that you are not being exposed to a number of diseases on a daily basis. Children in these countries are vaccinated against certain illnesses such as measles, mumps and rubella, but there are a number of other disease which are not immunised against in wealthy countries because they are simply not a threat.

However, when travelling overseas, and in particular to certain parts of the world such as South East Asia, Africa and Central and South America, there is a real risk that you will be exposed to a number of other diseases. These include very severe illnesses such as Hepatitis, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Malaria.

These diseases will generally cause you to be very ill for days or weeks and often requiring hospitalisation. In many cases they can cause on-going health problems which will plague you for years, and in some cases these can even be deadly.

You Need Immunisations Even For Destinations You May Not Expect

It is probably obvious that you need vaccinations when travelling to places like Sub-Saharan Africa. However, you may be surprised to learn that you need immunisations for countries you wouldn’t predict. For example, if travelling to Eastern Europe, the World Health Organisation recommends having Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever and Rabies immunisations.

Even if travelling to exclusively developed countries, it is important to make sure all of your vaccinations are up to date. There are certain immunisations that are recommended regardless of where you live – things like measles, polio and influenza – and are a number of these need to be updated every so often. When you are travelling you are at a greater risk of getting sick in general, because you come into contact with a lot of people and are often more vulnerable to infection due to tiredness, jetlag and simply being in new environments. This is another reason to be sure that all your vaccinations are up to date.

You Could Be Seriously Out Of Pocket If You Get Sick

Getting sick while travelling can be very expensive. If you are in a foreign country you will not have access to the free or reduced health care that may be available to you in your home country. Hospital bills, ambulance fees, doctor’s fees and medications can add up to significant amounts.

Your medical costs should be covered by your health insurance (which is another essential item when travelling overseas), but there are many other costs which are often not covered, depending on your insurer and your level of cover. These include extra accommodation fees, missed flights and non-refundable tours or activities which you won’t able to make due to your illness.

Immunisations Don’t Last Forever

It is important to note that the majority of immunisations do not give life-long immunity. That means that even if you have had a full set of shots five or even two years ago, it is important to check whether you need to have them again. Dig out your medical records and consult with a doctor to make sure that you have not only had all of the immunisations you will need but that they are up to date and you are protected.

Furthermore, certain countries require that people have certain vaccinations before they are able to enter a country. For example, countries in Central America may ask to see proof that you have had a Yellow Fever immunisation and that it is up to date before allowing you entry at the border. Also keep in mind that certain immunisation take a specific length of time to come into effect, or may need a set of more than one dose at set intervals, so don’t leave it until the last minute to see your doctor!

Ensuring that you have had all of the necessary immunisations before going on an international trip will make sure that your travels are not interrupted with an unnecessary and potentially life-threatening illness, and that you are able to fully enjoy your time overseas!

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