Rabies vaccination for travel

Rabies is a deadly virus usually transmitted through the saliva of infected 'rabid' animals. It is incredibly important to make sure you're properly vaccinated against beforehand, or you are treated with the vaccination, before symptoms start to appear. If left untreated, the virus will cause inflammation in the brain along with a host of other health problems.

What is the rabies vaccination?

The rabies vaccination is the best way to prevent, and in certain cases, treat the virus. If you plan on travelling to an area where rabies is common, or where there has been an outbreak, it is best to get this vaccination beforehand.

How long before travel should you have a rabies vaccination?

You should get your first rabies vaccination no later than one month before you travel, though you should plan ahead so that you have at least five weeks between your first vaccination dose and your flight. It is wise also to get travel insurance that will cover your trip to areas where rabies is common. There are three doses of this vaccination, given over a period of 28 days. You should ideally wait a week before your last dose before you travel to be fully covered.

What side effects can you expect after your vaccination?

It is not uncommon to experience temporary swelling on the injection site for about 24-48 hours. The area may also seem slightly sore after your vaccination which is nothing to worry about.

However, in a few rare cases, some may also experience the following side effects:

  • a mild high temperature (fever)
  • a rash
  • muscle pain
  • vomiting

How much does a rabies vaccination cost?

The rabies vaccination is given in three doses, each dose costing between £40 to £60 per dose.

What to do if you think you've been exposed to rabies

If you think you have been exposed to rabies, you need to wash the wound immediately and seek emergency medical help. You will be treated with the vaccination, with your treatment involving several doses of the vaccine over several days or weeks.

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