Travelling Abroad? Are you protected?
If you are travelling abroad you should visit the practice nurse to find out which vaccinations you need. Ideally this should be at least three months before your travel. Do not leave it until the week before you go, as many vaccinations need to be given a few weeks before travelling to ensure their full effectiveness.
You will need to complete a Travel Risk Assessment form. You can get a copy of the form from the surgery or print the Risk Assessment Form from here. Return the completed form to the surgery and make an appointment to see the Nurse.
For information about which vaccinations you may require and travel health advice visit the FIT FOR TRAVEL website.
Click here for a copy of the Travel Leaflet issued by the Regional Health and Social Care Board.
The nurse will tell you which vaccinations you need to get before travelling. Some of these vaccinations will be available on the NHS but others are not. In this case, you doctor will issue a private prescription for these vaccinations. A private prescription will usually be more expensive than a normal prescription charge.
GPs can give the following vaccinations on the NHS:
- Hepatitis A
GPs cannot give the following vaccinations on the NHS:
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Tick Born Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever
For vaccinations that are not available on the NHS your GP will write a private prescription. This should then be brought to a community pharmacy where it can be dispensed. The community pharmacist will usually charge a fee for dispensing these vaccines. The vaccination should be stored appropriately, as advised by the community pharmacist until your appointment with the nurse, who will then administer the vaccination.
The nurse can charge you for the administration of this vaccine.
Protection against Malaria
If you are travelling to an area where you need to take medication against malaria, this must also be written on a private prescription. Some anti-malarial medications can be bought from your pharmacist without a prescription. The nurse will advise you about the most appropriate preventative treatment for the country you are visiting.
Patients on long term medication
If you have an illness that means that you regularly need to take medication, please ensure that you have enough with you to last for your whole holiday. If you are travelling for more than three months, you should find a doctor who can continue your care in the country that you are visiting.
Medication for travel abroad or travel kits
If you want to take medicines abroad that you do not normally take to use in case you become ill e.g. antibiotics, you GP may issue a private prescription for these medicines.
General travel health
If you have any doubts about the quality of tap water, ensure that you drink, wash and clean your teeth using bottled water or water that has been boiled or sterilised. Where possible, eat fresh food that has been thoroughly cooked. Shellfish should never be eaten raw, and avoid salads and fruits that you have not peeled or washed yourself.
If you do get acute diarrhoea drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. You may wish to bring hydration drinks with you on holiday and you can buy these sachets from you pharmacy and add them to water. You should eat as soon as you can. Anti-diarrhoea medicines can also be taken to relieve symptoms of acute diarrhoea and these can also be brought at your pharmacy.
Be sensible with alcohol when abroad and avoid dehydration in hot climates by drinking as much fluid as possible.
Avoid over exposure to the sun, which is strongest between 11am and 3pm.
Use insect repellent to avoid insect bites. Apply repellent on tope of sun block when both are being used.
There is further information about countries and vaccinations required on the links below
First aid and travel kits
A basic first aid kit with some plasters insect repellent antiseptic cream and water sterilisation tablets won't take up much space and could be extremely useful.
Depending on where you are going you might also want to take an emergency medical travel kit with you. You can buy them in lots of places including pharmacies and specialist travel clinics. The kits contain sterilised medical equipment such as syringes, needles and suture materials. If you need treatment whilst abroad ask the doctor or nurse to use them if you are worried about hygiene.
Emergency travel kits should be clearly identified otherwise you might have trouble getting them through Customs. Do not carry loose syringes or needs without a letter from you doctor to explain when they are for.