Travel vaccinations for backpackers – be safe abroad!

Travelling to different climates and environments abroad can expose you to disease and health risks. Backpackers should be aware of the dangers and how to stay healthy by arranging the right vaccinations and backpackers travel insurance before you travel. Don’t run the risk!

Diseases which aren’t present in the UK such as yellow fever, malaria, rabies and dengue fever are common in some areas of the world. Whether or not you will need to have jabs depends on the individual country you will be travelling to, what existing medical conditions you have and what medication you are already taking. Check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website which has country specific advice.

Free vaccinations
Your GP or nurse may only be able to provide some travel vaccinations for free, these usually include:
· typhoid
· hepatitis A
· meningitis C
· tetanus, diphtheria, and polio (combined in one vaccine)

Charged vaccinations
You will need to pay for any other vaccinations, including:
· yellow fever
· meningitis
· Japanese and tick-borne encephalitis
· hepatitis B
· rabies (three doses over a period of time)

Planning ahead
Remember to visit your GP as soon as possible to check if you need any vaccinations as some will need to be done within a certain time period before you travel. You should also check with your GP if you will need other preventive measures, such as malaria tablets which aren’t usually available as NHS prescriptions and be quite costly. As well as having vaccinations for common diseases in the country that you are travelling to, you should make sure that you are up to date with your booster jabs, such as tetanus.

General health tips
· take out adequate travel insurance or you could face a huge medical bill if you fall ill and need treatment
· a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the holder to free or discounted healthcare in European Union countries
· drink plenty of water in hot climates to avoid dehydration
· be safe in the sun – use a high factor sunscreen and avoid excessive sunbathing between 11am – 3pm
· find out the local emergency services numbers and the number of the local hospital

For more health travel information
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office website has handy travel health advice on countries worldwide or the NHS website can provide you with specific information on immunisations.

Don’t forget your backpackers travel insurance!
You can get an instant quote and immediate cover by going online to 24/7 travel insurance and if you arrange your cover as soon as you book your holiday you will be immediately protected. For just £25.68* you can travel anywhere in the world and have peace of mind you are protected if there is a medical emergency.

* Premium £25.68 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 35 taking out a Standard Backpacker 24/7 travel insurance policy for 2 months WW inc USA. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (November 2009) and are subject to change.