Risks with visiting friends and relatives overseas

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Press Release Date: 9th December 2014

The world has become a ‘global village’ as has been stated many times over the past decades. Cheap and regular international flights mean that we can now visit friends and relations in the far distant reaches of our world. 

This easy accessibility has increased the risk of diseases being moved from place to place and also of our travellers being unprepared for the potential health risks of visiting regions of the world very different to our own. 

Friends and relatives who have moved overseas and are now returning “home” for the festive season usually don’t take any of the health risks associated with this trip into consideration. 

It is understandable that those returning to their place of birth will be sceptical about the need to consider the recommended vaccines offered to the western European traveller. If they stayed healthy and well during many years they lived in the area why would they now have to consider taking vaccines? 

In 2014 there have been 76 reported cases of Malaria in Ireland, which is 12 more cases than was reported 2013 to date. If you previously lived in an area where exposure to Malaria is high, you may have lost your immunity to this disease since moving out of this region. If you plan to return to the Malaria-prone area it is essential that you take regular adequate malaria prophylaxis to provide the best protection possible against the disease.

Dr Graham Fry, Medical Director of TMB explains, “It is essential to understand that in many cases the body only maintains the protective antibodies as long as it is constantly being exposed to the disease. If this stops for a period of time then the amount of protection drops and can only be returned to its protective levels by either exposure to the disease, and therefore getting the illness, or through vaccines.”

This should be particularly considered if you are travelling with children. Children will have no natural protection against many of the diseases which may be present in the region you are travelling to and so great care needs to be taken.

In some cases the child may be so young that they are unable to receive the recommended vaccines and this presents its own difficulties. 

It is easy to understand the need to return to ones homeland and to meet with family and friends and tell something of the experiences gained while abroad. However this group (both adults and children) need special care and attention to try to ensure that they remain in good health while abroad and also after they return to their new home.

To help make sure you’re illness free upon your return, Tropical Medical Bureau offers a post-travel screening service as well as a 24-hour hotline for existing customers.

So if you are planning to visit friends or family overseas this Christmas season, make sure you are covered before you go. Make an appointment in one of the 20 TMB clinics nationwide.

To book an appointment, please contact the Tropical Medical Bureau on 1850 487674 or visitwww.tmb.ie



Michelle Ryan
Phone: 083 1042620
Email: michelle@travelmedia.ie

Michael Collins
Phone: 086 8583585 
Email: michael@travelmedia.ie

Niamh Waters
Phone: 086 0492394
Email: niamh@travelmedia.ie

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