Ready to explore? Learn more about avoiding typhoid fever while travelling

Before heading off on your travels, it’s important to be prepared. Here we learn about typhoid, the vaccinations and treatments available.

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can affect the whole body. It can be potentially fatal. Typhoid fever is most common in parts of the world with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water.

Salmonella typhi, the bacterium that causes typhoid fever, is related to the bacteria that causes salmonella food poisoning. It can be caught through eating or drinking contaminated food and drink. Without quick treatment, typhoid fever can have serious complications that can be fatal, so it’s important to help protect yourself.

Typhoid isn’t common in the UK. Most cases are from infections that were picked up whilst visiting countries such as:

• Bangladesh

• India

• Pakistan

• Asia

• Africa

• South America

Worldwide, children are at the most risk of typhoid fever as their immune system is still developing.

Signs & symptoms of typhoid fever

The main symptoms of typhoid fever include:

• Having a persistent high temperature that increases daily

• Having a headache

• Body aches and pains

• Extreme tiredness

• Having a cough

• Constipation

As the infection advances, you might get other symptoms like:

• A tummy ache

• Diarrhoea

• Loss of appetite

• Nausea

• A rash (in some cases)

It’s important to get typhoid fever treated quickly. If the infection goes untreated, it could cause complications and increase the risk of developing potentially fatal consequences.

If you think you have some or all of these symptoms during travel or on return to the UK, you should seek urgent medical attention. You should explain to the doctor treating you that you have travelled abroad.

Treating typhoid fever

If typhoid is diagnosed in the early stages, you’re likely to be able to treat it with prescribed antibiotic tablets at home. If typhoid fever is more severe, it may require antibiotic injections in hospital. An estimated one in five people will die from typhoid fever and those who survive may have complications caused by the infection.

Preventing typhoid fever

In the UK, there are two vaccinations that can help provide protection against typhoid fever. They don’t give 100 percent protection, so it’s important to practise safe food and water hygiene and to also follow hand hygiene measures. For example:

• Only drink sealed bottled water or freshly boiled water

• Where possible, avoid any food that could be contaminated

The vaccinations involve either one single injection or taking three capsules on alternate days. It’s recommended that you get the vaccination if you’re travelling to somewhere that typhoid fever is common like:

• Africa

• South and Southeast Asia

• South America

• The Indian subcontinent

How long does the typhoid vaccination last?

The vaccination protects against typhoid for three years, however it’s important to understand the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective. You should practise other good food and water hygiene measures to reduce your risk.

Our service

For specialist health advice and vaccinations, book an appointment online with Boots Travel Vaccinations and Health Advice Service*. Ideally, this should be six to eight weeks before departure, but it’s never too late to seek advice if you're leaving sooner.

Travel vaccination advice

1. Book an appointment

Six to eight weeks before you travel you will need to have your travel health appointment to assess what vaccinations you need.

2. Attend a personalised risk assessment23

During the 40 minute travel health appointment our specially-trained pharmacist will advise on any vaccinations and antimalarials you need for your travelling.

3. Get any vaccinations & antimalarials you may need*

You'll also be given additional personalised advice to help you stay healthy on your trip

*Available in around 200 pharmacies. For people aged two and over. Eligibility criteria apply. Subject to availability. Charges apply.