Holiday Advice for Post-Transplantation Patients

For the first four to six months after your transplant, you will have frequent clinic appointments so going away may be difficult. St George's does not recommend that you travel abroad for at least 8-12 months after your operation.

Before booking any overseas holidays, always check that you are fit to travel with the transplant clinic.

For some holiday destinations you may need a vaccination. You should never have a "live vaccine".  We advise you not to travel to countries where there is a risk of catching malaria after your transplant.  If you do travel to a country where you need to take malaria medication, please talk to your kidney doctor and your pharmacist.  This is important because standard anti-malarial drugs will interfere with your transplant drugs, so you will need to be prescribed a different drug to prevent you catching it. You should also ask the clinic staff if there are any problems with where you want to go. Remember always check with St George's, and plan ahead.

The transplant clinic will provide you with a letter for customs to cover your medication. You will need to take medication in your hand luggage if you are travelling on a plane. Make sure you have enough medication to cover the time you are away. Ideally, you should not buy over the counter medicines while abroad. Also don't forget to obtain travel insurance, please check here for recommended companies.

Remember if you are travelling within the EU you should travel with a European Health Insurance card. You can apply for this through the Post Office or online (EHIC).

As always follow all the other advice from the clinic include avoiding foods such as Seville oranges, grapefruits and grapefruit juice.

Avoid direct sunlight on the skin. Always wear sun cream with a high sun protection factor (SPF) - at least 25-30 - when outside between March and October and when travelling in hot or sunny countries.

Similarly take the usual precautions that you would have on any holiday. See pre-dialysis holiday advice for hints and tips.

Avoiding infections while on holiday - Transplant immuno-suppressant drugs also reduce a patient’s ability to fight infections. Simple precautions include:

  • Avoid contact with people who have a cold, flu or any infectious disease such as chickenpox.
  • Buy bottled water abroad or use boiled water (especially in far eastern countries).
  • Avoid salads unless you have washed them and/or made them yourself, and avoid ice cubes, unless you have made them from bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cream from street vendors.
  • Make sure you have been appropriately vaccinated.
  • Avoid travelling to countries where the risk of catching an infection is high - MASTA and your GP can help advise you on this.

Can I have vaccinations for my holiday?

Yes, providing they are suitable, but you may not fully respond to the vaccines given because of your anti-rejection medications. You may need to take extra precautions. Please make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find out about vaccinations before you go away.

After your transplant, you must avoid live vaccines. Always check with your transplant team before having any vaccinations. Check the list below to see which vaccinations you can and cannot have. This list is not exhaustive; always ask your kidney doctor or nurse if you are unsure.

Live vaccines - not suitable

  • Yellow fever
  • Live oral typhoid
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Smallpox
  • Live oral polio
  • BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin)
  • Varicella zoster

Suitable vaccines

  • Inactivated polio
  • Influenza (types A and B)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal
  • Diptheria, tetanus and inactivated polio
  • Polysaccharide Typhoid
  • Meningococcal