Stop travel illness before it hits
Planning a trip soon?
In 2019 over 4000 Australian tourists ended up in the hospital and over 155 were evacuated back to Australia by Air Ambulance for a variety of ailments, illnesses and accidents*.
Whether it’s for business or leisure, preventative travel health is a crucial step to avoiding pain, disappointment, and potentially alarming medical bills on any overseas trip. Some key information you should research before you go:
- Will you be travelling to areas where food and water quality is of a low standard?
- Will you be spending time outdoors in rural or wilderness areas where you might encounter animals or wildlife?
- Will you be spending time outdoors and potentially be exposed to mosquitoes or other disease-carrying insects?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it’s worth seeking professional advice. A little bit of research and a consultation with a travel medicine expert before you leave will make a world of difference for your upcoming overseas trip.
Before you leave:
Researching your destination will help you prepare, so take a look at the local climate and health news while you’re searching for the best tourist spots, ‘must-do’ restaurants, and hidden gems. Visit our health alerts which detail the latest outbreaks around the world and can be found here. You’re able to search by either country or region.
A travel medicine expert will devise a personalised travel health plan to ensure you remain healthy throughout the journey. A consultation will not only provide up to date information on the necessary immunisations needed for each country or location but also preventative health options, education and information to help keep you healthy during your trip.
There isn’t a standard immunisation schedule for travel that will fit everyone, so it’s recommended to see a doctor as early as you can (preferably 2-3 months) before your departure, to allow time for different vaccines to take effect. Some countries can require proof of immunisation to enter, and you don’t want to spend all that time on a plane just to be turned away at the gate.
If you’re planning on taking prescription medication, or if you have a chronic illness, we recommend checking our page on Travelling with Medication.
Lastly, don’t forget to look into the wide range of travel products before you fly, compression socks, anti-nausea medication, insect repellents, water purifiers, female urination devices and first aid kits are items that can vary from desired comforts to utter necessities very quickly.
Be careful with food and water
While food markets can be an excellent way to source genuine local cuisine in many counties, it’s good to be smart before jumping in. Look at how the food is prepared, especially in places where it isn’t recommended to drink the local water. If your destination does have a low standard of water, investing in a water purifier or filtered water bottle might make the trip a lot easier for you.
One of the most common disease carriers are mosquitos. As they are found in many locations, especially in tropical areas, we would recommend insect repellents be used consistently.
Beware of rabies
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease. See a doctor immediately if bitten or scratched by any mammals that could potentially carry the disease.
Beware of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Passed from person to person through blood to blood contact or via bodily fluid it is important to protect yourself against contracting a sexually transmitted infection or disease throughout your trip. Don’t become lax with your health and safety just because you’re away
When you return:
Finally, if you become unwell, particularly in the two weeks after your return to Australia see your doctor, even if it seems small or insignificant. Some infections can take time to appear.