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NHS Contraception Service

NHS Contraception Service

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Description

Are you thinking about hiking in Peru, visiting family and friends in Asia, indulging in the wildlife or simply wanting to relax in the luxurious Caribbean sea? If so, here at Star pharmacy we offer a bespoke service for all your needs. We are open early morning, lunchtime and evenings, as well as providing an out of hours service. Our specialist and experienced staff will confirm the right travel vaccinations and advice to you. We provide all the necessary and essential travel vaccinations and medications to keep you happy and safe while abroad.

Please see below a detailed summary of some of the vaccines we offer 

Cholera

Introduction

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by Vibrio cholerae. Humans are the only known natural hosts. V. cholerae is endemic in many low-income countries and is usually associated with poverty, poor sanitation and poor access to clean drinking water.

Risk for travellers

The overall risk of cholera for travellers is extremely low, such that it is 0.2 cases per 100,000 travellers. However, for long term travellers in areas of outbreaks the rate may be as high as 500 cases per 100,000 travellers. Activities that may predispose travellers to infection include: drinking untreated water, eating poorly cooked seafood in endemic areas, or travellers living in unsanitary conditions, for example relief workers in disaster or refugee areas. 

Transmission

Cholera is mainly transmitted via the faecal- oral route, most importantly by consumption of contaminated water and, to a lesser degree, food. However, direct person to person transmission is rare.

Signs and symptoms

The usual incubation period is 2 to 5 days, although it can be as short as several hours. Cholera may not present with any symptoms, or can be mild in healthy individuals, with the only symptom being diarrhoea. Severe cholera is characterised by a sudden onset of profuse, watery diarrhoea that is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, If this is left untreated, it can result in serious dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and circulatory collapse. Over 50% of the most serious cases die within a few hours, however, with prompt and effective treatment the mortality is less than 1%.

Treatment

Rapid fluid replacement with a balanced solution of sugar, electrolytes and water (oral rehydration salts) should be started urgently. In serious dehydrated cases, intravenous administration may be necessary. Individuals may also be treated with a course of antibiotics in order to improve symptoms and decrease the intestinal excretion of the organism. Patients who are treated promptly should respond quickly and recover. 

Prevention 

Advice on food and water hygiene precautions is the most appropriate prevention strategy for the majority of travellers. An oral cholera vaccine is available in the UK and can be offered to humanitarian aid and relief workers and travellers with remote itineraries in areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to safe water and medical care. 

Diphtheria

Introduction

Diphtheria is a bacterial disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. This disease occurs worldwide but it is especially prevalent in poor countries where there is low vaccine coverage. A widespread and effective vaccination programme has resulted in diphtheria being rare in resource-rich countries. Incidence of diphtheria may occur in unvaccinated travellers to endemic areas, with those spending prolonged periods with those individuals at risk. Travel and close contact with cattle or other farm animals including cats and dogs, are a potential risk factor for infection.

Transmission

Diphtheria is spread between humans through respiratory droplets, contaminated fomites or from exudates from infected skin lesions during close physical contact. Poor hygiene practices and conditions of crowding can also increase the risk of transmission.

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period is between two and seven days. The symptoms are classified as local or systemic, depending on whether or not the exotoxins have spread. There are several syndromes associated with respiratory tract diphtheria, with the most common being pharyngeal diphtheria. This affects the soft palate, tonsils and pharyngeal area. A “leathery” grey/ yellow membrane is formed and is attached to the underlying tissue. Furthermore, the lymph glands become inflamed, swollen and tender. Infection may spread to the larynx leading to laryngeal diphtheria, which is characterised as a husky voice and a brassy cough. If there is airway obstruction it can further lead to a difficulty in breathing and a bluish discoloration. 

Nasal diphtheria is a localised infection and you usually present with a low grade fever and nasal discharge. 

Systemic spread of the exotoxins can lead to harmful effects primarily on the heart and nervous system. 

Treatment

Diphtheria can be treated with both anti-toxin to help neutralise the exotoxins, and antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria. Antitoxin should be administered early on during the infection to prevent disease progression. 

Prevention 

It is important to get vaccinated to prevent diphtheria. Maintaining high vaccination levels in a population will lead to herd immunity and decreased transmission of the bacteria and thus the risk of disease. Moreover, improved sanitation, personal hygiene and a reduction in population crowding will prevent the spread of the bacteria. It is also advised that travellers avoid close contact with cattle and other farm animals as well as the consumption of raw dairy products in order to minimise the risk of infection.

Diphtheria vaccination information

Diphtheria toxoid vaccine is now only available as a combined vaccine. [Diphtheria (low- dose), Tetanus and Poliomyelitis Vaccine (Td/IPV- REVAXIS)].

Tetanus

Introduction

Tetanus is an acute disease caused by an exotoxin (tetanospasmin) which is produced by Clostridium tetani. This bacteria is heat sensitive and cannot survive in the presence of oxygen, however, it develops a terminal spore that is resistant to heat, antiseptics, phenol and other chemical agents. Tetanus is present worldwide and tetanus spores are present in soil and faeces of a number of animals. 

The organism that causes tetanus, Clostridium tetani is present everywhere in the world. Since this disease is acquired through environmental exposure, it is one of the few vaccine- preventable diseases that is infectious but not contagious from humans to human contact. The incidence of tetanus in a country or area depends on the vaccine coverage. In resource- rich countries, like the United Kingdom, the vaccine coverage is high, hence the number of tetanus cases that are reported is very low. 

Transmission

Tetanus spores are found in the intestine of most mammals including horses, sheeps, rats, chicken, dogs and cats. They are passed into the soil via faeces, making them present everywhere in the environment. The disease is acquired when material containing tetanus spores contaminates a wound of any severity. Wounds with a high risk of tetanus are those that show one or more of the following: deep puncture, contact with soil or manure and evidence of sepsis. 

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period is usually 7 days, but ranges from 3 to 21 days. The further the injury site is from the central nervous system, generally the longer the incubation period. Individuals who have the shortest incubation period, there is a greater risk of fatality. 

The signs and symptoms can be categorised according to the type of symptoms:

Local tetanus– This is a rare and milder form of the disease. It is characterised by a persistent contraction of muscles in the same area as the injury, and may persist for a few weeks before gradually subsiding. 

Cephalic tetanus– This is a form of generalised tetanus, which occurs when the tetanus spores enter the middle ear, following a middle ear infection or a head injury.

Generalised tetanus– This accounts for about 80% of cases worldwide. After a period of discomfort, trismus ( also known as lockjaw) develops. This is characterised by spasms of the facial muscles and produces a grinning expression. Neck stiffness, difficulty swallowing and rigidity of the muscles, back and extremities follow. 

Neonatal tetanus– This is the main form of tetanus in a resource- poor area. Illness begins 3 to 14 days after birth. Without specific treatment death occurs in more than 95% of cases. Death usually occurs secondary to infection of the umbilical stump if the end is cut with unsterilised instruments. 

Prevention

Effective vaccination is available and all individuals should be immunised. Travellers should be up to date on their tetanus immunisation, be aware of the risk of accidents while travelling, and the importance of seeking urgent medical attention in the case of a penetrating wound. 

Tetanus Vaccination Information

Tetanus toxoid vaccine is now only available as a combined vaccine. Travellers to areas where medical attention may not be accessible if a tetanus prone injury should occur and whose last dose of a tetanus- containing vaccine was more than 10 years previously, should receive a booster dose of Td/ IPV. 

Poliomyelitis

Introduction

Poliomyelitis (polio) is an acute, potentially paralysing disease that can be prevented by the administration of a vaccine. It is caused by a polio virus, a small RNA virus of the genus Enterovirus. The risk of acquiring polio depends on factors such as standard of living, duration of stay, poor sanitation and food and water hygiene. Infected travellers excrete polio for a period of time and can even spread the virus to polio free countries. Until worldwide eradication is achieved, the risk to travellers acquiring the virus and the risk of polio being reintroduced to disease free regions remains.

Transmission

Polio is transmitted via the faecal- oral route. This can either be done by human to human contact or by exposure to faecally contaminated food or water.

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period for polio is between 3 to 21 days. The illness can be categorised according to the severity of symptoms:

Asymptomatic – 95% of all polio infections are asymptomatic

Minor, non-specific – This accounts for 4% to 8% of infections. Three syndromes are seen:  Upper respiratory tract infection ( sore throat and fever), Gastrointestinal disturbances ( nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea) and influenza-like symptoms. 

Aseptic meningitis – Occurs in 1% to 2% of cases and is characterised by stiffness of the neck, back and/ or legs. 

Flaccid paralysis – This occurs in less than 1% of all polio infections. Paralysis can affect single or multiple limbs and the respiratory muscles. About 50% of individuals with paralytic polio recover without paralysis, another 25% have mild permanent disability and 25% have permanent severe paralysis.

Prevention

Travellers should be advised to be vaccinated. They should also be advised to follow strict food and water hygiene as polio is transmitted via the faecal oral route. In addition to this, travellers should practice a high level of personal hygiene, i.e. hand washing, especially before eating. Swimming in chlorinated water is recommended and to avoid contact with water contaminated with sewage. 

Availability of vaccine

Revaxis (dT/IPV) is the only vaccine licensed for use in adults.

Hepatitis A 

Introduction

Hepatitis A is a small, unenveloped RNA virus within the genus Hepatovirus. This disease is endemic in many low-income countries where food and water hygiene may be of a low standard. Hepatitis A causes acute inflammation of the liver. It is relatively uncommon in the UK and is usually associated with specific risk groups such as injecting drug users or those individuals who travel to an endemic country.

Risk for travellers

The risk of acquiring hepatitis A in highly economically developed countries is low. It depends on the living conditions, duration of stay and the standards of food and water hygiene. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting friends and family, long term travellers and those visiting poor sanitation

Transmission

Hepatitis A is usually spread through food or water that is contaminated by human faeces. Foods such as strawberries and lettuce that grow close to the ground can also be a risk. Human to human transmission in conditions of poor faecal hygiene is also a risk factor and this can occur during certain sexual practices ( for example, oral/ anal sexual contact), through unhygienic injection drug use and between children. Virus shedding in the faeces occurs during the incubation period of hepatitis A and may continue for a few days after the onset of jaundice, this is the stage that the patients are most infectious. 

Signs and symptoms

Hepatitis A becomes more serious with age, with approximately 2% mortality rate in those over 50 years of age. The incubation period is around 28 days, although it can range from 15-50 days. Patients may experience early symptoms of general fatigue, anorexia, fever and nausea before developing jaundice. Jaundice is when your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow. Recovery can take up to a month in young people, however some patients are ill for many weeks. Patients with pre-existing chronic liver disease may be more susceptible to complications.

Prevention 

The risk of acquiring hepatitis A can be reduced by ensuring good personal hygiene and by following good food and water hygiene. Furthermore, there are several safe and well- tolerated hepatitis A vaccines available for travellers who wish to visit an endemic area. 

Hepatitis A vaccine information

Hepatitis A remains one of the most common travel- related vaccine preventable diseases. It is recommended for travellers who are visiting areas of hepatitis A risk, particularly those visiting friends and family, long- term travellers and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.

Hepatitis B 

Introduction

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the most prevalent blood- borne viruses and is a major cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer. The risk of HBV for tourists and short term travellers is relatively low, however the risk can increase depending on certain factors especially in areas of high endemicity, for example sexual transmission, frequent, long term and expatriate travellers and individuals who are travelling for medical reasons or with medical conditions. Healthcare and humanitarian aid workers are also at an increased risk.

Transmission

Hepatitis B virus is transmitted by exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids that is contaminated with infectious blood, vertically from mother to child, or passing through the skin, as an injection or a topical medicine. Behavioural risk factors such as unprotected sexual intercourse, body piercing, tattoos and injecting drug use can also increase the liklihood of acquiring hepatitis B. The risk of sexual transmission of HBV is grater for individuals who change partners frequently, particularly men who have intercourse with men and commercial sex workers. You may also acquire hepatitis B through the percutaneous route, this may include the use of contaminated medical, dental or other instruments and transfusion of infected blood products. 

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period for hepatitis B is usually between 40 to 160 days. Following this period patients who are symptomatic may experience abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, anorexia and fever. Patients may also notice dark urine and pale stools. During the acute stage of infection, jaundice may also be apparent. Chronic infection may develop in less than 5% of adults who are affected in adults.  

Prevention

In order to reduce the risk of acquiring hepatitis B, all travellers should receive the following advice:

  • Avoid unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Avoid tattooing and piercing
  • Do not share needles
  • Carry a sterile medical kit
  • Ensure you follow the necessary precautions if working in a healthcare/ high risk setting. 

Vaccine availability

Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all travellers whose behaviours place them at risk and may include:

  • Individuals who may be exposed to blood or blood products through their profession/ occupation for example, healthcare professionals, aid workers, police and fire-fighters.
  • Travellers who plan to stay for long periods in areas of high or moderate endemic areas
  • Travellers who change sexual partners frequently
  • Travellers who participate in contact sport
  • Travellers with pre-existing medical conditions such as, chronic liver disease or kidney failure. 

Japanese encephalitis

Introduction

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is an inflammation of the brain caused by a flavivirus. The disease is transmitted to humans by Culex mosquitoes in Asia. Dengue and yellow fever are other examples of diseases caused by flavivirus. JE was first recognised in Japan in the late 1800s, but the first major epidemic was present in 1924. However since then, JE has been increasingly recognised throughout most countries of East and SouthEast Asia.

Factors that favour the disease may include: environmental conditions necessary for the mosquito breeding cycle ( for example rainfall, humidity and tropical temperatures), mosquito habitats ( for example swamps and rice-growing fields) and the presence of the amplifying hosts ( pigs and birds)

Japanese encephalitis in UK travellers

There have been two reported cases of japanese encephalitis in UK travellers. The first was a British woman who was residing and working in Hong Kong and was diagnosed with JE in 1982. She later died as a result of heart and respiratory complications. The second was also a woman who had been to Thailand in 1994. She however, fully recovered after 4 months. 

Risk for travellers

The risk for travellers varies and depends on factors such as destination, duration, season and activities. Certain activities, even if it is a short trip can increase the travellers risk for example significant rural, outdoor or night time exposure e.g. camping or cycling. 

Transmission 

The japanese encephalitis virus is transmitted to humans from animals and birds through the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. These mosquitoes mainly feed during the night, from dusk till dawn. The main hosts are pigs and wading birds.

Signs and symptoms

The majority of cases of japanese encephalitis are non-specific or asymptomatic. The incubation period is around 5 to 15 days and some of the presenting symptoms may include fever, headache, confusion and convulsions. 

Prevention

You can reduce the risk of acquiring JE by insect bite avoidance methods, especially during dusk and dawn, where the Culex mosquito is most active. A japanese encephalitis vaccine is also available which is recommended to those individuals who intend to stay for long periods in rural endemic areas during the transmission season, or for those whose planned activities will increase the risk of acquiring JE ( please see vaccine recommendations below) 

Japanese encephalitis vaccine information

JE vaccine is recommended for:

  • Patients who are going to reside in an area where japanese encephalitis is endemic or epidemic;
  • Travellers who are planning to stay a month or longer in the risk area during the transmission season, especially if travel will include rural areas;
  • Travellers who have a shorter itinerary if risk is considered sufficient, for example, those spending time in rice fields ( where the mosquito vector breeds), or close to pig farms. 

Rabies vaccine 

Introduction

Rabies virus belongs to a family of viruses known as Rhabdoviridae. This virus attacks your central nervous system and can lead to paralysis, inflammation of the brain and coma. Once you get symptoms of rabies, it is quite fatal. Rabies virus occurs in warm- blooded mammals and is transmitted to individuals, usually by a bite from an infected animal.  

Risk for travellers

The majority of deaths from rabies occur in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and follow a bite from an infected dog. These countries predominantly have large stray dog populations that pose a risk to humans if they are bitten or if they have any exposure to infected saliva. Other hosts of rabies found in these regions include bats, monkeys, mongoose and jackal. 

Transmission 

The rabies virus is found in the saliva of an infected animal and is transmitted to humans by a bite, or when the saliva from an infected animal comes into contact with broken skin or mucous membranes for example, the eyes, nose or mouth. 

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period of rabies is around 20 to 90 days. The early symptoms are often non-specific and may include a fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches and pains. This disease then progresses to a more common furious rabies, which is characterised by laryngeal spasms (a transient and reversible spasm of the vocal cords that temporarily makes it difficult to speak or breathe), which occur in response to attempts to drink water. 

Treatment

All travellers who have had any possible exposure to the rabies virus, by any means, should seek medical advice without delay. Seeking medical advice/ care is also highly recommended for travellers who are visiting low risk areas for rabies as other infections may be transmitted by the bite. Medical advice should be sought without any delay even if pre-exposure vaccine was administered. This is because the disease is considered fatal once the symptoms start to manifest. 

Prevention 

Travellers should avoid contact with wild or domestic animals and should be advised the following:

  • Not to approach animals
  • Avoid picking up an unusually tame animal or one that appears to be unwell.
  • Avoid attracting stray animals 

Travellers receiving rabies vaccine prior to travel does not eliminate the need for post-exposure medical evaluation and additional doses of rabies vaccine. 

Rabies vaccine information

Individuals who are travelling to a rabies area are considered to be at an infrequent risk, however it is recommended that you get pre-exposure rabies vaccine if you are: 

  • At risk for more than one month
  • Undertaking certain activities that are considered high risk for example, cycling and running. 
  • Unable to access the rabies vaccine or other medical care easily at your destination.

Tick Borne Encephalitis

Introduction

Tick borne encephalitis (TBE) virus belongs to a closely related group of flaviviruses that includes yellow fever, dengue and japanese encephalitis. The virus is caused by three different subtypes: European TBE virus, Far Eastern TBE virus and Siberian TBE virus.

European TBE is endemic in western and central Europe and is transmitted by Ixodes ricinus ticks. It is common in forest and mountain regions. 

Far Eastern TBE, is also known as russian/ summer encephalitis and is transmitted by I.persulcatus ticks. This occurs in the spring and summer months in eastern Russia and some countries in East Asia

Siberian TBE is endemic in Siberia and is also transmitted by I.persulcatus ticks.

Risk for travellers

Some of the factors that increase the risk of acquiring tick borne encephalitis include:

  • Destination of travel
  • Season of travel
  • Duration of travel
  • The activity of the ticks in the country visited
  • Travellers vaccination status

Travellers who are planning a visit to an endemic area may also be at risk when walking, camping or working in woodland terrain. Individuals may also be infected with TBE by consuming un-pasteurised dairy products from infected animals.

There is a higher risk for infection during the months April to November, with the Far Eastern subtype more common in the spring and the European subtype more common in the autumn. 

Transmission

Transmission in humans mainly occurs through the bite of an infected tick with the introduction of the virus through the tick saliva. Saliva contains an anaesthetic, meaning the bite sometimes may go unnoticed, emphasising the importance of checking the body for attached ticks. The infected ticks are usually found on forest fringes with adjacent grassland, riverside, meadows and marshland. Ticks can also transmit the virus throughout their lifecycle stages, and once infected, carry the virus for life. 

The activity and development of ticks depend on climatic factors such as temperature, the moisture of the soil and humidity. Wet summers and mild winters usually increase the tick density.

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period is 7-14 days, but can vary from 2-28 days. The first stage of the disease may last roughly 1-8 days and affects about 66% of infected patients. The symptoms are characterised by a non-specific and flu-like illness, accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever and general weakness.

Approximately 33% of those who were symptomatic during the first phase will go on to the second phase of the disease. This is characterised by a sudden rise in temperature and central nervous system involvement. Furthermore, a third of these cases progress to encephalitis.

Prevention

The risk of contracting TBE can be reduced by insect bite methods. Travellers should be advised to:

  • Wear long sleeves and long trousers ( which are tucked into socks), which can be treated with insecticide sprays
  • Apply an insect repellent to exposed skin
  • Check for the presence of ticks regularly. Common areas for them to attach to are the hair-line, beyond the ears, elbow, armpits and  back of the knees.
  • Remove the tick as soon as possible by using tweezers or a tick remover. 
  • Avoid consumption of unpasteurized dairy products in risk areas

Tick Borne encephalitis vaccine 

TBE vaccine should be considered for the following:

  • Travellers who will be staying for an extended period in a TBE endemic area
  • Those at occupational risk in endemic areas, e.g farmers, soldiers
  • Travellers to rural endemic areas during late spring, summer and autumn for example those who are campers or hikers 

Typhoid

Introduction

Typhoid fever is a disease that is caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica. It is a disease that is contracted by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Typhoid mainly affects low income regions of the world, where there is poor sanitation and dirty water. The majority of the cases in Asia, however there is a risk in many other low income countries including Africa and parts of South America

Risk for travellers

Some of the risk factors for contracting typhoid include:

  • Include eating or drinking contaminated food or water
  • Inadequate sanitation
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Close contact with the infected individuals

The risk of contracting typhoid fever in more economically developed countries is considered to be low, however the risk is highest for travellers to the Indian subcontinent ( Bangladesh, India and Pakistan)

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period for typhoid fever is usually 7-14 days. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Anorexia
  • General fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea

Prevention

All travellers should practice food and water hygiene precautions. It is also recommended for travellers to get vaccinated. 

Vaccine information

Typhoid vaccine is recommended for patients over 2 years of age, who are visiting areas where typhoid is endemic, particularly if you are staying with or visiting the local population, or if there will be frequent and/ or prolonged exposure to conditions where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor. 

Meningococcal Group B vaccine

Introduction

Meningococcal group B (MenB) bacteria causes serious life-threatening infections worldwide, including meningitis and sepsis. There are 12 groups of meningococcal bacteria, and MenB is responsible for 90% of the meningococcal infections in the UK.

MenB vaccine protection

There are many different strains of MenB bacteria around the world and some tests say that the MenB vaccine protects almost 90% of this bacteria.

Our trained and competent pharmacist can administer the meningococcal group B vaccine, under a patient group direction. It is for patients aged 2 months, or older presenting for immunisation against the invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis group B

How does the MenB vaccine work?

The vaccine is made from 3 major proteins which are also found on the surface of most meningococcal bacteria, combined with the outer membrane of 1 MenB strain. They work together to stimulate the immune system and to protect against any exposure to future meningococcal bacteria that may occur.

Meningococcal ACWY

Introduction

The meningitis ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine helps to protect against meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia) that are caused by 4 groups of meningococcal bacteria; A, C, W and Y.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is when the lining of the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed and swollen. This will result in pressure on the brain causing symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Stiff neck
  • Photosensitivity
  • Drowsiness
  • Seizures

What is septicaemia?

Septicaemia is also known as blood poisoning. This is a very serious and life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. Some of the signs and symptoms that can appear very quickly include cold hands and feets, pale coloured skin, vomiting, becoming very sleepy and finding it difficult to wake up. 

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

Our trained pharmacist can administer the meningococcal ACWY vaccine under a patient group direction for people of all ages who are at risk of exposure to Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, including:

  1. Travellers who are visiting meningococcal meningitis risk areas, such as:

               – Backpackers

               – Those living or working with local people

               – Long stay or high risk visitors to sub-Saharan Africa

                -Pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah

  1. Infants (from birth), children and adults with asplenia, splenic dysfunction ( which includes sickle-cell disease, and coeliac disease)
  2. Individuals aged 10 years to less than 25 years ( including students up to 25 years attending university for the first time) who have never received a MenC- containing vaccine.

Travellers’ Diarrhoea

Introduction

Travellers’ diarrhoea is one of the most common issues experienced during travel and can be caused by bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella. These germs are mainly spread through eating and drinking contaminated food and water, or coming into contact with contaminated dishes and utensils. Loose stools can also be caused by a change in the diet such as eating oily foods.

Travellers’ diarrhoea is when you have three or more episodes of loose and watery poo in 24 hours. Most cases are mild and do not need any specific treatment. It usually happens in the first week of travel and lasts about 3 to 5 days.

Prevention

In order to prevent travellers’ diarrhoea it is good to practice good hand hygiene and food and water precautions. 

You should try to always wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water:

  • Before eating and drinking
  • Before and after preparing food, especially raw meat
  • After using the toilet
  • After touching live animals.

If you do not have access to clean water, you should use alcohol based sanitizers.

Rifaximin

Rifaximin is licensed for self-treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea in patients who are over the age of 18 years. 

Travellers who are suitable for self-treatment include:

  • Those who are travelling to remote rural areas and may be far away from any medical help
  • Those with pre-existing bowel problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Travellers with pre-existing medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease which may be worsened by severe infection or dehydration. 
  • Those who are prone to get severe travellers’ diarrhoea

Treatment details

Rifaximin 200mg tablets (Xifaxanta) is a prescription only medication that can be supplied by our very own clinical pharmacist, under a patient group direction, following a free pre-travel consultation.

One tablet is taken every 8 hours for 3 days. It can be taken with or without food. 

Our dedicated team of experienced healthcare professionals are here to guide you through the essential vaccinations and health advice required for your upcoming journey.






 

 

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