In 2018, 10.5 million Australians travelled overseas on a holiday. Holidays are an exciting time that allow you to create new memories and experience other cultures. The last thing you want is to be experiencing the local doctor’s office or hospital instead.
If you have your ‘to do list’, don’t forget to add visiting your GP as a main priority. There are a number of preventative measures you can take to decrease your chances of a health condition.
Before leaving for your holiday ensure you have enough prescribed medication to last your trip, if you’re about to run out visit your GP and get any new prescriptions required.
We can also print off a letter listing your current medications to decrease your chances of having any issues with customs and a health summary for travellers who have existing medical conditions.
If your medication is not standard, we recommend checking that they are legal in the country you’re visiting, you can do this by contacting the foreign mission of your destination. You should also be aware that it is an offence to carry or send Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicine overseas unless it is for your own personal use, or someone travelling with you.
Immunisations are an essential part of traveling overseas. If you’re unsure if you’ve had a required immunisation it’s recommended you talk to your GP who may have access to your records. The immunisations you require will differ depending on where you are going and what activities you are doing, it is important to discuss your holiday with your doctor who will know what you require.
Tetanus occurs when bacteria enters your body through an open wound. You should always be up to date with your tetanus immunisation regardless of travelling. If you have not received a tetanus immunisation within the last 10 years you can either have the standard ADT immunising against diphtheria and tetanus, or boostrix which also includes the whooping cough immunisation. Tetanus is a serious condition that can cause a number of symptoms including death.
2. Measles, mumps and rubella
Immunisation against measles, mumps and rubella is also something to discuss with your doctor with measles outbreaks making the news in recent months.
Often travel involves many people in small places, this of course increases your chance of catching influenza or the common cold. If you want to eliminate as many risks as possible, you may want to consider the influenza immunisation as well.
4. Hepatitis A
The most commonly suggested immunisation is against hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a virus affecting the liver spread by contaminated food or water. It recommended you have a booster injection at 6-12 months that provides life-long protection.
5. Typhoid Fever
The second most commonly suggested vaccine is against typhoid fever, which is another illness caused by contaminated food or water. This must be given at least 2 weeks before travel and only gives 3 years of protection.
Cholera is an oral vaccine that is not routinely suggested as it is not the most effective vaccine. Cholera is less commonly acquired by western travellers but offers some protection against traveller’s diarrhoea.
Depending on where you’re travelling your GP may also suggest a yellow fever, Hepatitis B or rabies injection. If you plan on being in contact with animals overseas, including feeding local monkeys in Bali, then we recommend getting the rabies immunisation.
There is currently no immunisation for malaria, but we can prescribe preventative antibiotics if you’re heading to a place with a particularly high incidence of malaria.
Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clots form in your body, most commonly in the legs. This can often be caused by being still for long periods of time, to help prevent this we recommend purchasing compression socks for flights, this can also help reduce swelling of the feet and ankles.
We can fit you for compression stockings and prescribe them onsite at our clinics.
To further decrease your risk, we recommend you:
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol
- Mobilise your ankles and massage your calves
- Wear non-restrictive, loose clothing
- Know the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, the most common symptoms being pain in the calves.
- Avoid sleeping tablets
Don’t forget the most important step, if you’re heading overseas contact us to ensure your health is in check!