Spending your gap year travelling the world can be hugely rewarding, with so many sights to see around the world and foreign cultures to enjoy and experience.
If youâ€™re travelling to foreign countries, you will be exposed to lots of diseases. Many of them can be potentially fatal. It is therefore vital before you set off travelling to get good advice about preventative measures you can take to help minimize your risks and which vaccinations to consider.
Japanese Encephalitis is transmitted by mosquito bites in many Asian countries and northern Australia. It is a rare disease amongst travelers but if caught can be fatal.
One of the most dangerous diseases which can be caught abroad is rabies. This is usually caught when a person is bitten by an infected animal. It should not always be assumed that you can â€˜tellâ€™ when an animal is rabid, as they can be infectious for five days before they show any symptoms at all. Catching rabies will result in symptoms developing many weeks or months later, at which point it may be untreatable. Once symptoms have developed, rabies is fatal. A course of vaccinations is available which helps protect you if bitten.
Yellow Fever can be particularly problematic in areas where itâ€™s endemic, such as forest and jungle areas although there are small outbreaks in towns and cities. Itâ€™s caught by being bitten by infected mosquitos, and results in severe flu-like symptoms, resulting in bleeding and jaundice. If you do not have vaccinations or immunity against yellow fever (which lasts ten years), your chances of death are as high as 50%. Some countries require evidence of vaccination in order to enter the country.
The number of diseases you are potentially exposed to by travelling on your gap year is enormous, and there are too many to list here, but the good news is that there are a number of vaccinations and inoculations available to help you stay fit and healthy. For further information on which vaccinations you should consider prior to travelling on your gap year, you can visit the travel vaccinations section on the Boots website which will list the disease risks according to your area of travel.
The service allows you to select the countries youâ€™re travelling to on your trip, as well as selecting your arrival and departure dates, creating a customised itinerary of your trip. It will list the diseases you will be at particular risk of based on the regions and areas youâ€™re visiting and the time of year youâ€™ll be there.
You can then book an appointment with a travel-trained pharmacist at a participating Boots store, who will be able to advise you further on specific diseases and preventative measures you can take. The pharmacist can provide any vaccinations or antimalarials you choose to have at the appointment, as well as providing advice on other aspects of travel health like bite prevention, sun safety and avoiding food and water borne disease.