Guide to travel vaccinations

Do you know exactly what you should do prior to travelling

Interview, Health

Tell us about travel medicine
Travel medicine is all about prevention and protection against different diseases and awareness of risks involved with travel. At Health Bay we do a travel risk assessment on our patients depending on where they are going and what type of travel they are undertaking. This is based on a UK website called TRAVAX that has up to the minute information on. Ideally, this should be done six weeks prior to travel. Some vaccinations require a course and advice can be given as to what precautions to take not only with vaccination but other health related advice.

At what age can you have a travel vaccination?
Travel vaccines can be given at different ages depending on the manufacturers’ guidelines and the Dubai Health Authorities recommendations. Yellow fever for instance, may be given from nine months of age, but most are given after one year of age and some are part of the routine childhood vaccination programme.

How important is it to vaccinate children prior to traveling?
Prior to travel, a child’s vaccine record should be checked by a health professional to ensure their routine childhood vaccinations are up to date.

What vaccinations do children require prior to traveling?
Travel vaccines are given to a child depending on what countries they will be visiting.

What is the most common vaccination children receive?
It is important to obtain the correct travel vaccines and keep your
immunisations up to date to prevent your child from catching the illness or bringing it home with them, and spreading diseases to relatives and friends. The main vaccines given include; hepatitis A, typhoid, influenza, hepatitis B, meningitis, yellow fever and rabies.

What do children receive to prevent malaria?
Infants and young children are classed as high risk for malaria. Most of the antimalarial drugs can be given to your child depending on weight and age. This can be prescribed by your paediatrician or family medicine doctor and again the type depends on where you are going. Bite prevention is very important too, so use a good repellent and mosquito nets if necessary. The malaria mosquitoes bite mainly from dawn to dusk but there are other illnesses like dengue fever and yellow fever that are transmitted by mosquitoes that bite in the daylight hours so in a lot of countries repellent should be used day and night. Your health advisor can discuss this with you at your visit.

On returning from holiday, is there any advice for parents on what to look out for?
When you return from your holidays, if you have diarrhoea, fever, respiratory illness or skin conditions then you should seek medical advice. If your child develops fever above 38 degrees celsius or higher a week after being in a malaria risk area, or develops malaria type symptoms within a year of their return they should seek immediate medical advice. Remember: if in doubt — check it out.

Do we need to raise the awareness of childhood vaccinations prior to traveling?
With the holiday season here we are very happy to discuss your travel health needs and advise accordingly.
Health Bay Polyclinic, Villa 977, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 2. Other branches across Dubai. For more information email (04 348 7140).

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