Considerations for Safe & Healthy Travel Overseas:
- Never drink or brush teeth with unboiled tap water,
- Drink only reputable bottled or canned drinks and ensure the bottle seal is intact as re-filling of water bottles in common practice in some countries,
- Ice is commonly made from tap water and is unsafe,
- Boil water for 2-5mins or longer at high altitude where there is a change in boiling point.
- Avoid salads (including fruit salads) , uncooked seafood (e.g., oysters,prawns,mussels)
- Iodine tablets and possibly a filter is necessary for water purification where bottled water is unavailable.
2. Travel insurance where obtained need to ensure it includes medical evacuation expense coverage.
3. Personal safety: some countries involve extra precaution (eg, Johannesburg has the highest murder rate)
4. Airline travel: keep well hydrated, frequent movement on board and 20mm or greater compression stockings provides marked lower risk of DVT
5. Last minute travellers are usually best advised to have part of the vaccination regime rather than none. For example, Hepatitis A vaccination works almost immediately ( virtually same day as travelling to the airport ) , Typhoid vaccination takes at least one week to be effective, Rabies vaccine even if given on an incomplete basis will avoid post bite need immunoglobulin treatment and assist should there be delay in post exposure doses.
6. Altitude sickness: symptoms usually experienced at 3500 metres but some people notice mild symptoms at 2500 metres. The rate of ascent should be limited to 300 metres each day. A sudden rise in altitude greatly increases the risk of altitude problems. Organise your itinerary allowing for a gradual and progressive increase in altitude and where possible include some rest days to allow bodily adjustment to the higher altitude. The younger and fit traveller often has greater risk with altitude problems than the less fit and older traveller, perhaps because the latter is less likely to overextend their performance level. Our doctor will discuss the symptoms of altitude illness and how to manage it and may prescribe medications to reduce this risk and also certain medications may speed up acclimatisation. Travellers need to avoid flying straight to high altitude destinations from sea level (e.g. Lhasa in Tibet or La Paz in Bolivia )
7. Yellow Fever vaccination Certificate is valid for 10 years, but exemptions can be provided for certain travellers (see above).
8. The one day a week Malaria table (Larium) sounds wonderfully convenient but need to be trialled over a four week period before departure to ensure side effects such as mood disorders do not occur. Where time is short, a loading dose of 2 tablets can be taken the week before travel to rule out side effects.
9. Recommended contents of a travel kit include: antinauseant, antidiarrhoeal, oral rehydration, antibiotic such as norfloxacin or Azithromycin (when travelling to Thailand or India), EpiPen if there is a history of anyphalaxis, Thrush treatment for women taking doxycycline as an antimalarial, Soframycin drops for those at risk of tropical ear eg, surfers.
10. Safe sex. Condoms are essential for many travellers given the recent marked increase in HIV/AIDS.
Book an appointment today with our doctor to ensure safe and healthy travel overseas.