Travelling is one of the most exciting adventures that you can embark on. Seeing new places, discovering new cultures and enjoying new foods are all top of the list when you are making your bucket list of places to visit. One thing that you must consider no matter where you're going is whether you need to get a health check and vaccinations before you travel.
If you are heading to beautiful areas in Africa, South America, Central America, and the stunning Caribbean, then you really need to consider taking care of yourself before you start your journey. Given that mosquitoes inhabit most of these places, one disease that you need to think about is yellow fever.
We're going to talk you through what you need to know about yellow fever, and what to do about it so that your travelling adventures aren't marred by illness - especially when they don't have to be!
What Is Yellow Fever?
A viral disease spread by mosquitoes, yellow fever can make you seriously ill. Without treatment or vaccination, yellow fever can also be complicated enough to lead to death. The reason it's called yellow fever is that your skin can become jaundiced, taking on a yellow hue. Thankfully, modern medicine has seen the development of a vaccine that can prevent you from contracting yellow fever if you are travelling to an area where the infection is prevalent.
Which Countries Require A Yellow Fever Vaccine?
When you've made your bucket list of places to visit, you next need to check whether you need a vaccine for yellow fever before you go. Yellow fever can be found in the following places:
- Sub-Saharan Africa - anywhere below the Sahara desert
- Some areas of the Caribbean
- Much of South America
- Some areas of Central America
If your travel plans include Asia, the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Europe, you won't have to worry. Some places require you to have proof of vaccination, especially if those places are close by to the areas where yellow fever is found. Even if there isn't a risk of picking up the infection, it's better to be prepared.
Symptoms Of Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is spread quickly through mosquito bites, and as it's not airborne, you can't get it from someone who has it. The bites occur during the day, and the mosquitoes that spread the infection can usually be found in towns as well as rural areas. It takes between three and six days for symptoms to become apparent, and these include:
- A high temperature of 38c or more
- Feeling sick
- Severe headache
- Muscle pains
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of appetite
Usually, someone who has contracted yellow fever will return to normal in three or four days. However, some people go on to develop more complicated symptoms, including:
- Skin colour changes
- Bleeding from the eyes or nose
- Vomiting blood
Those who display more of the severe symptoms are at higher risk, with almost half of those people dying with the disease.
If you believe that you have developed some of the symptoms of yellow fever following a bite while travelling, you need to see a doctor straight away for treatment. They will need to know exactly where you have been travelling, whether you were bitten and a full rundown of your symptoms.
You can avoid all of this, though, with a vaccination at CBD Medical.
When Should You Get Vaccinated?
When your holiday plans are complete, and you're getting packed, you need to remember to get your vaccination. It's best to book it at least ten days before you travel because you need to let it have some time to work in your system before you go. The vaccine will protect you for life, so you won't need to worry about topping it up no matter how long you are travelling for.
Carrying your vaccination certification with you while you travel is essential, mainly if you are headed to nearby countries to where you can find yellow fever. The certificate that you carry will only be valid after ten days post-vaccination.
It is important to note, if you don’t have the Yellow Fever vaccination certificate you may be rejected into the country you are travelling to and upon return home, you may encounter problems at customs.
A recent world health decision has meant that once you have had a Yellow Fever vaccination – that’s it for life. No need for boosters.
What About The Side Effects?
As with any medication or vaccine, some side effects could affect you. It's important to remember, though, that the vaccination side effects are significantly more manageable than contracting yellow fever, and the risk of not being vaccinated will outweigh the side effect risk. After vaccination, up to 1 in 3 people experience side effects, and these can include:
- Muscle pain
- Slight fever
- Soreness at the vaccine site
Some more severe side effects affect some people, including allergic reactions and issues that affect the brain, but the rate of occurrence is currently less than 10 in a million doses. You can expect the milder side effects to pass within 14 days.
Where Can You Get Vaccinated?
CBD Medical is a World Health Organisation (WHO) accredited yellow fever vaccination centre. Established in 1987, we have over 35 years of experience servicing patients of all ages throughout Brisbane.
We are recommended by international travellers’ guide books such as Lonely Planet. Our doctors and skin doctors are passionate about providing personalised and dedicated care, taking into account each patient’s individual needs and concerns to ensure that you’re fully satisfied with our service.
Contact CBD Medical Today
If you require the yellow fever vaccine or any other travel vaccinations, please do not hesitate to call us on 07 3211 3611 now. Your health is essential, and there is nothing that ruins your travel plans more than a dose of yellow fever while on the road. There is no cure for yellow fever, but the symptoms can be treated if you receive help early enough. Let's avoid the symptoms altogether, book in for a vaccination today.