Actually, the injections were fine. It was just the price list that made me flinch. I had no idea that some of them might be £200 per course. So–how do you find out whether you need any jabs before you travel–and what could it add to the cost of your trip?
For me, the first stop was my GP surgery, but there are walk-in travel advice centres in other parts of the country, and some big pharmacy chains offer travel vaccinations, too.
After I’d completed a form listing the countries on our itinerary, the next step was to arrange a double appointment with a practice nurse, to talk through each country and any prevalent health issues.
Scrolling through the alphabetical list of potential diseases for long distance travellers was a bit alarming. I don’t fancy diphtheria or dengue fever, thanks. Chikungunya fever and the Heps don’t sound too appealing, either. Or rabies; frankly. Moving on to the Ts is even more scary. Tsetese flies…typhoid….TB…
A calm head’s needed. Especially if it’s down to you to weigh up the advice you’re given, and down to you to pick up the jabs-tab, too.
In the UK, a good health adviser will research the countries on your list, often kicking off with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office http://www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo , linking to other websites for travellers and health professionals, such as http://www.travax.nhs.uk . There’s a mix of long-standing information for travellers and fast changing pieces of advice, based on the re-emergence of conditions like Ebola, or most recently, the Zika virus.
The jabs you will be offered are likely to be based on:
- Injections you’ve had in the past
- Any pre-existing medical conditions
- Where you’ll be travelling
- Whether you’ll be alone or with a group or companion
- How far you might be from a hospital or clinic
- Exactly what you might be thinking of getting up to…!
I was pleased to hear that some of the injections could be grouped together, and that some automatically fall under ‘free’ NHS treatment to registered patients in the UK…so…fresh from the surgery fridge last night, I received a triple shot against polio, diphtheria and tetanus at no charge. (And no…they don’t offer you a sugar-cube alternative any more!)
I’m back with the nurse in a couple of weeks to chat about Japanese encephalitis (risk or no risk…..?) and to consider how likely I might be, whilst clattering right through Vietnam by train, for example, to encounter a rabid dog on one of the stops. A rabid dog which might fancy biting me.
A bit later on we’ll plan protection against malaria; probably with a course of tablets to be taken a specific length of time before we hit the riskiest areas. I’ll ask for some advice, too about the best kind of repellent against such beasties.
+We’d love to hear from you if you’ve been through a similar process before a big trip. Which jabs did you have…and how much did they cost? Had you already factored in a few hundred pounds for vaccinations? What are your top tips for staying well while you’re travelling….and what would you include in a mini first-aid/keep well pack for along the way?
6 thoughts on “Travel jabs? Ouch !!”
oh we have quite a few of those here in SE Asia! Best protection from dengue and malaria is to not get bitten – so pack some good Deet spray and if you want to take antimalarial meds go with Malarone.
Thanks Nicki–that’s exactly the kind of info we need. Don’t really want to walk round covered up from head to toe in hot climates either! -Jane
My speciality!! With 500 boarders all going off on exotic holidays/school trips (why go to Dorset when you can go to Vietnam for your geography field trip!) I’ve stabbed and jabbed them all!
Rabies is always a yes if there is any risk. As I tell the boys, if you get it your best outcome is death then the jab is worth it! You should also get Typhoid and Hep A on the NHS too….and if you boost your hep A in 6-12 months it will cover you for 25 yrs. Typhoid, get if you can, there’s always a national shortage of it. But keep your water hygiene tip top as Typhoid vaccine only 30-50% effective Malarone is the best anti-malarial tablet. You only start it one day before being in malarial area and one week after. It’s a once a day pill so much simpler than other versions. MASTA travel clinics sell a brilliant 1st aid travellers kit with all the things you hope you won’t need. Ask your GP if he will prescribe you for some basic antibiotics for a chest infection and some for skin infection (insect bites and coral are big causes for this) and one for mega-diarrhoea! Take painkillers, dioralyte, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptic wipes, blister plasters and repellent with loads of DEET in it. Also take a bug killing room spray. You normally spray room, shut doors, etc and you can go in after half an hour knowing your bedroom is safe from any insects who have you on the menu. Take my email…I am your very own NHS direct!
We use http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/ for travel jab/health advice. Brilliant website.
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Helen…I think we might book you for a guest post! Such essential info and advice here..thanks so much!! -Jane
I cashed in all my Boots ‘points’ to buy our first aid kit essentials.
Thankfully we haven’t used 3/4 of what we bought with us!
Glad to hear you haven’t needed all of it! Still haven’t got a Boot’s card…might be worth thinking about it. Thanks so much for commenting; enjoy whatever you’re up to today 🙂 -Jane
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