Vaccinations (also known as immunisations) can help you develop some level of immunity against infectious diseases.
Your GP should be able to answer any of your questions about which vaccinations you may want for you or your children, and how you can go about getting them.
What are the side effects?
When we’re considering a vaccination for ourselves or our children, it's natural to think about the potential side effects of that vaccination. But you have to balance the risk against the benefits.
Most side effects from vaccinations are mild. It's quite usual for people to have redness or swelling in the place where they had the injection, but this soon disappears.
Younger children or babies may get a bit irritable or unwell or have a slight temperature. Again, this disappears within one or two days.
In much rarer cases, some people have an allergic reaction soon after a vaccination. This is usually a rash or itching that affects part or all of the body. The GP or nurse giving the vaccine are trained to treat this.
On very rare occasions, a severe allergic reaction may happen within a few minutes of the vaccination. This is called an anaphylactic reaction. It can lead to breathing difficulties and, in some cases, collapse.
What else should I consider?
In recent years there has been widespread speculation about a link between vaccines and illnesses, such as autism. Much of this speculation is linked to vaccines which contain mercury and aluminium. There are also some concerns about the amount of vaccinations given over a short time period, especially for children.
If you are worried about vaccinations you may want to consider all of your options. Some private clinics use vaccines which contain no mercury or aluminium. They also offer vaccination programmes spread over longer periods of time.
It is important to do your own research and consider all of the risks before making a decision about vaccines.
Travelling around the world comes with associated risks to health. Whether your going on a business trip or on holiday, you may need to be vaccinated against one or more infectious diseases to safeguard your wellbeing.
Vaccinations may only be required when travelling to certain countries; the number and type of immunisations vary from country to country.
The UK Department of Health booklet, 'Health advice for travellers', provides information about vaccinations you may need for different countries. Copies can be obtained from your local post office.
The Department of Health’s website also provides updates on disease outbreaks around the world and offers information on how to obtain emergency medical treatment whilst abroad.
Your GP should also be able to give you advice and administer vaccinations, or refer you to someone who can. Please contact your doctor at least 6-8 weeks prior to travelling to discuss your requirements.