Australians love to travel — we take more than five million trips to overseas destinations every year. And being prepared for common health problems before you head off on holidays will help ensure you’ll see more than just the hotel bathroom.
- Visit a travel health specialist and get the appropriate vaccinations for the area you’re travelling to.
- Take out travel insurance to cover hospital treatment, medical evacuation, and any activities.
- Always carry your insurance company’s emergency assistance card with you and contact the company as soon as you need help – most insurance companies provide 24-hour advice to travellers.
- Carry a traveller’s medical kit containing items such as headache
tablets, antiseptic lotion, cotton wool, Band-Aids or similar,
latex gloves, safety pins, insect repellent and hand sanitiser.
Specialised kits for diarrhoea are also available from a travel doctor.
- Exercising a little care with food and drinks and good personal hygiene can help you avoid gastro symptoms.
- To avoid being bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes, pack some good repellent and a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
- Avoid animals such as dogs and monkeys as they could be carrying rabies.
- Have a check-up on return if you’ve been ill.
Do your research
While your travel agent may be knowledgeable, it’s a good idea to seek independent advice on the country you wish to travel to. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel website, smartraveller.gov.au, has comprehensive information on up to 150 countries, including the latest health alerts and advice and other potential risks (personal crime, terrorism and so on), tips on travelling with children and contact details for Australian embassies and consulates around the world. You can also register your details on the site beforehand so you can be traced in an emergency.
Smartraveller - Australian government travel advice - smartraveller.gov.au
The travel doctor tmvc.com.au
The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Yellow Book - probably the most comprehensive medicinal resource for travellers. If you're travelling a bit further off the beaten track, this is a great resource to help you prepare.
Travel Health Advisory Group welltogo.com.au
World Health Organization who.int/en