Sussex Travel Clinic

Hove Clinic

01273 749100

Worthing Clinic

01903 254774

Measles, Mumps and Rubella are highly infectious diseases that are transmitted through coughing, sneezing and direct contact with respiratory secretions. All the diseases are present worldwide.

Measles symptoms include: rash, flu-like symptoms, conjunctivitis and cough. It can be a very serious disease, particularly in children, with thousands of deaths reported worldwide each year.

Mumps symptoms include: fever, headache, joint pain and swelling of the salivary glands. For most people serious complications are rare, however, mumps can lead to viral meningitis and swelling of the testicles in males and ovaries in females who have gone through puberty.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is usually a mild infection with symptoms similar to the common cold. If caught in pregnancy rubella can cause miscarriage or multiple birth defects.

Advice for Travellers

In the UK all children are offered vaccination against MMR during their childhood as part of the UK childhood vaccine programme. The UK MMR vaccination programme was introduced in 1988. Those born between 1980 and 1990 may not have received two doses of vaccine and should have a booster before travel.

The diseases are still very common in many parts of Asia, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South America. Outbreaks also occur in many developed countries including the USA, Canada, japan and the UK. In the past month alone there have been reports of measles outbreaks in the following countries: Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Israel, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia and Somalia. (Source: NATHNAC)

All travellers should ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccine. This is particularly important for travellers who may be around children, living or working with locals or attending mass gatherings on their trip. Two doses of the MMR vaccine gives lifetime protection against all three diseases. If travellers have not had an MMR vaccine or the diseases then they should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine 4 weeks apart. MMR is a live vaccine and needs to be given on the same day as other live vaccines such as Yellow Fever or BCG, or separated by 4 weeks.

To book an appointment for an MMR vaccine call 01273 749100 or book ONLINE.

The Foreign and Common Office (FCO) has produced 3 videos aimed at assisting British nationals when travelling abroad. The key messaging within these focuses on preventing losing personal property when abroad, with a particular focus on the loss of passports in Spain, Portugal and Italy. There is also an additional video providing travellers with information on getting Emergency travel documents whilst abroad.

Watch these useful videos for further advice:

 

Trekking holidays in places like Nepal, Peru and climbing Kilimanjaro are becoming ever more popular amongst travellers. 30,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro very year with 6 to 8 people dying on the mountain each year. [1] Preparation before you go and following the right advice is essential.

 

What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is often referred to as acute mountain sickness (AMS) is the body’s reaction to decreases in pressure at high altitude. High altitude is classed as heights over 2.500 metres. The decrease in pressure means you take in less oxygen and this can make it more difficult to breath.

There are three forms of altitude sickness:

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
  • High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE)
  • High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE)

Although AMS can be uncomfortable, if your symptoms are recognised quickly and the right advice is followed, it usually does not cause serious problems.

Symptoms of AMS

Symptoms of AMS appear 6 to 12 hours after you climb to high altitude, although it can take up to 24 hours to develop. Symptoms include: headaches, sleep disturbance, tiredness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and upset stomachs.

If you get any of these symptoms you should not climb any higher. If after 24 hours your symptoms have not improved, you should go down to a lower altitude to let your body adjust. If you get symptoms of AMS you should take this as a warning sign that you may develop more serious altitude sickness called high altitude cerebral oedema (HACE).10% of people with AMS will develop HACE. [2]

Symptoms of HACE include: confusion, exhaustion and loss of muscle co-ordination.

High altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) is when fluid builds up in the lungs and is also very dangerous. HAPE symptoms normally develop 2- 4 days after arrival at high altitudes above 2,500 metres and include: breathlessness, cough, bubbling sounds in the chest and pink spit. HAPE can develop even if you have not had symptoms of AMS.

Both HACE and HAPE can develop very quickly and can be fatal within hours. If you develop symptoms of HACE or HAPE you need urgent medical attention and should   go down to a lower elevation immediately.

What can I do to avoid AMS?

It is difficult to predict who will get AMS; being physically fit does not prevent it. If you have previously had AMS you may get it again.

Follow the 3 golden rules. [3]:

  1. If you feel unwell, you have altitude sickness until proven otherwise
  2. Do not ascend further if you have symptoms of altitude sickness
  3. If you are getting worse then descend immediately

Reduce your risk by:

  • Avoiding climbing too quickly
  • Avoid flying directly to high altitudes
  • Spend a few days getting used to altitude before you go above 3,000 metres.
  • Make sure you climb gradually and do not sleep more 300 to 500      metres higher than you did the previous night.
  • Do not get dehydrated.
  • Regular rest days are important– a full day of complete rest every      three days is best.
  • If any signs of AMS develop, do not go any higher until you have      fully recovered.
  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance that covers you for      your climb and medical evacuation should you need it.

 

Can AMS be treated?

If you rest and do not climb any higher symptoms of AMS usually improve in a few hours or days. Taking over the counter medication such as paracetamol may help with headaches. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids and avoid alcohol. If you do develop AMS make sure you do not venture off on your own as you could develop more serious symptoms at any time.

 

Acetazolamide (Diamox®) can be prescribed to try and prevent AMS. Diamox reduces the headache of AMS and increases blood oxygenation at high altitude by altering the body’s acid- base balance. Diamox should be taken 24 hours before arrival at high altitude and for the first 3 days at altitude. A trial dose is recommended before travel.

Sussex Travel Clinic can prescribed Diamox – call 01273 749100 to book an appointment or book ONLINE

 References

  1. http://www.mtkilimanjarologue.com/planning/random/mt-kilimanjaro-how-dangerous-is-it-really.html
  2. http://www.nathnac.org/travel/factsheets/altitude.htm
  3. http://www.altitude.org/altitude_sickness.php#golden_rules

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family whilst you are travelling.

Sussex Travel Clinic invites you to like our Facebook page so that you can keep up to date with all our news on your travels. We regularly post updates and will keep you informed of any important news that may affect you when you are travelling.

Every month we will be selecting 1 new LIKE at random to win £25 worth of travel products. Choose form our fantastic range of mosquito nets, insect repellents, travel first aid kits and more.

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