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Tourists neglecting health advice

Research shows that people planning trips abroad are spending no longer than half an hour considering the health implications their holiday could have.

According to a poll by the Fleet Street Travel Clinic in London, two out of three people spend less than 30 minutes thinking about their health prior to the trip and one in four travellers do not research health information before they leave.

The survey of 334 UK travellers who had visited Asia, Africa or the Middle East in the past year also found that 25% of travellers do not get the vaccinations they need, and a further 7% refuse jabs specifically recommended by their doctor.

Of the people who did seek out advice, the clinic found that 61% asked their GP for information, 33% used the NHS Direct service and a further 25% referred to travel guides for information.

Dr Richard Dawood, Medical Director of the Fleet Street Travel Clinic, said: "Holidaymakers will spend hours choosing their swimwear or their beach bags or even their flip-flops, but barely minutes thinking about the viruses, bacteria, or other health risks that could ruin their trip, or even kill or cripple them."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Fleet Street Travel Clinic

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Definitely, it seems it's the younger element that don't give travel health enough consideration." - Rosemarie Hesse, Scotland

"Do the travel agents have a responsibility for their customers' health or should there be more promotion at the GP's surgery on travel health to raise public awareness?" - K Tham, London

"Yes, I struggle on a weekly basis dealing with patients who have booked a last-minute holiday over the internet or at the travel agents, and neither agency mentions immunisations or maleria. Others have spent time booking and arranging holidays only to come in last minute for immunisations - no
wonder my hair is going grey! Why are travel agents so careless about peoples lives? Perhaps their own organisation needs to initiate standards before the government becomes involved as the number of people returning from foreign holidays with acute illnesses are increasing on a yearly basis often with tragic consequences" - Mary Swinney, South Tyneside

"A family I dealt with spent 18 months planning a 'holiday of a lifetime' trekking in Peru, but came for vaccinations 2 weeks prior to the trip. They were horrified at the risk of rabies and the fact that immunoglobulin is in such short supply. They kept saying the travel agent should have told them. Maybe travel agents should  be more responsible?" - Crissie, Suffolk 

"Yes! My colleagues and I deal with travellers daily and find attitudes to our attempts to educate them on the importance of protecting oneself prior to trips extraordinary! We deal with students who are usually on low budgets that have not included recommended vaccinations/malaria chemoprophylaxis. Perhaps it should be part of the travel insurance acceptance terms?" - Sue Mercy, Manchester

"Yes - a garden swing comes with very prominent safety information, for instance, a holiday in a malarious destination should also carry a health warning." - Sarah Buckley, Norwich