A new travel health awareness campaign is set to launch next week after research suggests that one in two British travellers has become ill or injured on holiday.
The 8 Weeks To Go travel health awareness campaign (www.8weekstogo.co.uk), is developed and funded by GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health in association with ABTA – the Travel Association, the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Fit for Travel (www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk).
It aims to educate UK travellers, who made more than 58 million overseas trips last year, about the health risks associated with travel and the steps they can take to reduce their risk.
Dr. John Davies, campaign spokesman and former Chairman of the British Travel Health Association’s executive committee says: “Travelling is one of life’s great pleasures and there are some simple steps people can take to ensure a healthy trip, but despite this, a study of European travellers showed that only 40% had sought health advice before departure.
"Many people are unaware that something as simple as slipping at the side of the pool, sipping a cocktail or eating a salad could ruin their trip by putting them at risk of an infectious disease. Even countries only a few hours away can have different health risks to the UK.”
To reduce their risk of becoming ill whilst on holiday travellers are being urged to seek personal, up-to-date, expert advice from a healthcare professional 6-8 weeks before overseas travel.
Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth, campaign spokesperson, GP and travel health expert adds: “Anyone travelling abroad should realise the risks, and people revisiting familiar destinations especially need to be aware that they are not immune to such risks. More and more people are visiting hot, tropical destinations, with an estimated six million visits made by UK residents each year.
"It’s vital that travellers are aware that medical and hygiene standards may differ to those in the UK as in some regions equipment used in clinics, including needles, may not be sterile. It is wise to travel with a small medical kit and a bar of soap so you can also follow good personal hygiene whilst travelling. Before you go make sure you take out adequate travel insurance and seek personal, up-to-date travel health advice and be sure to follow this advice whilst on your trip.”