Health advice for couriers travelling to mainland Europe

Travelling to mainland Europe is commonplace for many UK couriers, but you still need to make sure you have had the correct immunisations for continental European travel. Couriers should also familiarise themselves with the standard health precautions to take when travelling abroad. The health risks of travelling will vary between individuals, and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. length of stay, activities abroad and the general health of the traveller.

If you are planning to take on courier jobs abroad, you should consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse 6-8 weeks before travelling. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and/or medications specific to the countries you are visiting. You should also use this opportunity to discuss other important travel health issues, such as safe consumption of food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many common problems experienced by couriers working abroad cannot be prevented by vaccinations, so other preventative measures need to be taken.

Measles occurs worldwide and is common in developing countries. Couriers should use the pre-travel consultation to check that they are immune, either by natural measles infection or previous immunisation. Even adults who had all the recommended childhood immunisations may need boosters before travelling. Couriers whose work puts them at risk of soil contaminated wounds may require tetanus booster injections every 10 years. If you are at risk of serious disease or complications, or you are travelling to an epidemic area, you may require influenza or pneumococcal vaccinations.

UK couriers visiting other European Union countries should carry the European Health Insurance card (EHIC), as it entitles travellers to medical treatment at a reduced cost in most European countries. Online EHIC applications normally arrive within seven days. Couriers should also ensure they are fully insured for medical emergencies.

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