Dr Clare Applegarth from Clifton Beach Medical and Surgical discusses travel vaccinations and how to prepare before travelling overseas. Find out what vaccinations you should have, when you have to get vaccinated and how long vaccinations provide protection for.
Video Transcription Below.
Dr Clare Applegarth, MBBS, FRACGP, Diploma in Child Health, BA, BSc.
Most of the time it’s important to get your vaccinations at least two weeks ahead of your trip. This is to make time for your antibodies to form in your body that will protect you against the infection. It’s also worth thinking about whether your childhood course of vaccinations is up-to-date, particularly before travelling to countries where polio and measles may be prevalent. Make sure your flu shot and your tetanus are up-to-date as well. If you’re travelling to parts of Southeast Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Central, South America, and Africa, it’s important to make sure you’re vaccinated against typhoid and hepatitis A because these both come from infected food and water. In the case of typhoid, the vaccination can provide you for protection for up to two to five years and comes as an oral or an injectable form. Hepatitis A vaccination will give you protection for one year but if you have a booster six months later you’re considered to have lifelong protection in most cases. In some parts of the world, cholera comes as epidemics. The cholera vaccination can also provide protection against some other forms of traveler’s diarrhoea so it’s worth bringing your itinerary to speak with your doctor and see if this may be helpful for you to have.
Last Minute Travel: Should I get vaccinations even when I won’t be able to complete the full course?
Some people wonder if they’re travelling last minute, whether it’s worth coming in to start the vaccination course at all. Usually, it’s worth getting started on the course even if that just means having your first one because it will usually start to provide some protection within one to two weeks. It’s always worth coming in and at least getting started on the course, even if you need to complete it after you’ve returned home.
We always try to have vaccinations in stock but if you think you might be coming in for travel vaccines it’s always worth calling ahead to make sure that we have the ones that you think you may be requiring. This is particularly the case for children you may require special formulations of vaccines.
A really good resource to consult is the CDC website, cdc.gov, which can provide some special advice for your destinations and what vaccines you might need.
Unwell After Travelling Overseas
If you start to feel unwell when travelling home or even after being overseas, it’s really important that you speak with your doctor and tell them that you’ve been overseas. Diseases such as malaria can take even up to four weeks to start making you feel unwell. For public health, it’s very important that we diagnose these promptly and make sure that the diseases don’t spread in our local community.
To see our full travel medicine video, click here.