Travellers' Diseases

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Advance planning can help prevent many travellers’ diseases. Prior to a trip, people should consult with their doctor and check that they have been vaccinated for diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, polio, and tetanus and check whether any boosters are needed to maintain a protective level of antibodies. They should discuss their travel plans and get additional vaccinations as recommended for diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid and yellow fever. If they are going to go to areas where malaria is common, they will usually be given medicines, such as mefloquine or chloroquine, to begin taking prior to their trip. These will need to be taken regularly during the trip and for a specified time period after the traveller’s return.

The NHS in Scotland has up to date information on travellers health and preventative strategies (see Related Pages).

In spite of taking every precaution, travellers may still become ill, either during their trip or several months after they have returned home. In general, the earlier that travellers’ diseases are detected and diagnosed, the easier they are to treat. Travellers should know which symptoms signal the need to seek prompt medical care in the country they are visiting and which may be safely self-treated. For several months after their return home, they should note any symptoms that occur and bring them to their doctor’s attention.

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