British travellers face shortage of yellow fever vaccine

British travellers looking to visit tropical Africa and South America during the winter are likely to face a shortage of the vital yellow-fever vaccine, due to global demand outstripping supply, The Telegraph has reported.

Several British hospitals and health centres have reported an inadequate supply of the vaccine since July. Immunisation against the disease is strongly recommended for travel to winter sun destinations including Brazil, Cape Verde and Gambia.

Travel health specialists are also warning of difficulty in obtaining the vaccine, as fresh supplies are not expected until the beginning of next year. Yellow fever is a fatal disease that kills up to 60 percent of people that become infected. It is prevalent in tropical areas of Africa, South America and parts of the Caribbean and India where mosquitoes are present.

Dr Richard Dawood of the Fleet Street Clinic in London was quoted in the Telegraph, saying, ‘We are getting lots of people coming in who have been unable to obtain the yellow fever jab at a number of places and are getting quite nervous about it. At the moment we still have supplies but I fear we too may run out.

‘I would advise anyone planning to go away to affected countries over Christmas to try to get the jab now. It is only going to get more difficult,’ he added.

Greg Lawson, head of retail at the travel insurance specialist, Columbus Direct, agreed, saying: ‘Vaccination is the single most important preventative measure against this deadly disease.

‘If travelling to regions where yellow fever is found, it is recommended that you seek advice from a health professional at a registered yellow fever vaccination centre at least six to eight weeks in advance to ensure it is available.’

The government-funded National Travel Health Network and Centre has also warned of the shortage of yellow fever vaccine on its website. It advises travellers to visit the website nathnac.org, and to check ‘Yellow Fever Centres’, which lists both NHS and private clinics that currently provide the vaccine.

According to Dr. Dawood, the shortage is due to there only being one manufacturer of the vaccine, which is difficult to produce.

In addition to requiring the vaccination to prevent contracting the disease, those travelling from one yellow fever risk area to another also need to provide proof of inoculation in the form of a yellow fever certificate.

 

Travelling the world: the health risks

Every holidaymaker’s nightmare is falling ill whilst away from home – regardless of whether you’re visiting a coastal region of the UK or an exotic paradise in a foreign land. Of course, international travel often carries the biggest risks as there are various diseases, illnesses and infections unheard of at home which are prevalent in other parts of the world.

You should therefore always consider visiting a travel health specialist before and after you leave, to ensure you are in a fit condition to travel.

Preventative measures

Prevention is the best course of action so rather than leaving things to chance, visit a London-based travel clinic for specialist care. This includes checking your blood; one of the most effective ways to detect any illnesses or conditions, and can also administer various vaccinations for diseases common to the areas you’re planning to visit. Some of these need a certain amount of time to become active so it’s always best to book early to ensure you’re able to travel at the desired time.

It’s important that you’re aware of your current medical condition before you leave too. Should anything happen whilst away from home you’ll then have all the information needed to ensure you get the right care and treatment.

Likewise, when coming back, another visit to the travel clinic can make sure that you are safe and have not contracted any illness whilst away. This includes examining you or simply having another blood test to ensure everything is in order. At the very least, it offers peace of mind.

Protection

There are a variety of diseases and viruses that are common in various countries. Depending on where you’re going, any number of vaccinations may be recommended. Don’t underestimate these vaccinations, malaria and other infections can have strong medical consequences and are difficult to treat. As a result, simple vaccinations and inoculation procedures build up a natural defence for your body. This simple procedure encourages anti-bodies and white blood cells to fight against specific viruses whereas blood without this protection is more susceptible and unprepared for the infection.

Of course, it’s not just malaria that can harm you – although this is one of the more common ailments contracted whilst on holiday. Depending on where you travel, you may need protection against rabies, yellow fever or even dengue fever. Your private doctor at the travel clinic will be able to assist you in recommending and providing the right course of vaccinations and preventative treatments depending on where you are travelling.

Treatment and screening

Part of the process at the travel clinic heavily involves blood tests as these are arguably one of the best ways to assess your health when it comes to various infections and illnesses. These can detect any viruses currently in your body and ensure you are healthy enough to travel.

If you develop any unusual symptoms or conditions within a year of visiting a dangerous area, such as one inflicted with malaria, it’s recommended that you get yourself tested immediately. Regular check-ups should be part of your normal health regime but it is important to react appropriately whenever you notice any changes in your health or fitness.

Sea Air is Good for Health – The Proof

A recent study has explored the links between the seaside, health and happiness. Researchers concluded that being by the sea can boost well being – highlighting some truth in the lyrics of the famous song “Oh we do like to be beside the seaside”.

In the 2 year study by the British Psychological Society, 2750 people were asked about their experiences of different environments including the seaside, the countryside and urban parks. Researchers noted that people found seaside environments to be the most pleasurable. Participants told researchers that being by the seaside made them feel ‘relaxed’, ‘refreshed’ and ‘invigorated’.

Recently, much has been said about the impact of happiness, relaxation and stress-avoidance on health. It is thought that the positive effects on wellbeing caused by going on regular seaside holidays can boost the immune system, prevent disease and possibly even help us to live longer.

The study doesn’t pinpoint exactly why being by the seaside makes us happier than any other place, but the researchers are now looking into possible explanations. It could be that we have an innate pleasure response to the sound of the sea or the way that light shines on water. Alternatively, the seaside may encourage us to recall happy memories from childhood holidays.

Some holidays are more relaxing than others and avoiding stress on holiday is bound to have positive effects on health. Many people travelling within Britain opt for coach holidays so they can avoid the pressure of driving long distances and the stress of finding a parking space in an unfamiliar town. Travelling by coach also allows people to interact more with others during the journey, which can be very pleasurable for some.

There are many ways that we can improve our general health wellbeing. And now it appears that we have an excuse to add a seaside holiday on to our diet and fitness plan!

Vacation ‘Soul Food’ is on the Way Out for Many Dieters

Say goodbye to the soul food holiday. While most of us enjoy holiday food – foreign meals, new dishes, and comforting fat-filled hotel staples, a growing number of British travellers are opting to take their own food abroad in an effort to decrease their caloric consumption. With a rising rate of obesity and some of the most nutritionally nasty food in the world, we don’t think it’s a great idea.

For most, holidays are about sampling the local culture – something that certainly includes a local take on cuisine and culinary arts. From Malaysia’s famed hawker stands to Rome’s backstreet pizza and pasta houses, food is as much a part of travel as is sightseeing. To put it simply, it’s a part of the culture that isn’t to be avoided, even if it means loosening your belt after an evening meal.

It’s not just small-time dieters that are exporting their dietary staples, either. Leading television and media personality Oprah has advised her audience – one that’s particularly diet-friendly – to pack a selection of ultra-healthy foods before they holiday internationally. It’s a tactic that, for weight loss, is likely to prove worthwhile. But isn’t it slightly xenophobic in its nature?

Part of the joy of travel is experiencing foods that other cultures have created, even if it may result in a hundred extra calories. For dieters, however, there remains an alternative – after arriving in a foreign country, make an activity out of tracking down a high-value dietary meal. Piecing together your lunch from local foods isn’t just culturally interesting – it’s fun!

With dieting very much a part of daily life, it’s no wonder so many are opting to design their own international lunch. But please don’t let it become the standard meal when holidaying overseas. A trip is equal parts culture and cuisine – two aspects of travelling that just shouldn’t be isolated.