Travelling and Your Health – What Do You Need to Think About?
Before embarking on any journey, travellers commonly plan carefully – they plan and check transport and accommodation details carefully and, if they are sensible, make sure they have appropriate travel insurance cover in place.
There is always a lot to think about when planning a trip. Not only do you need to sort out an itinerary and schedule, you are quite likely to be shopping around to obtain the best prices for fares and lodgings and possibly, doing some evaluation of policies in order to obtain cheap travel insurance.
In amongst all of the things that need to be considered, health scares and issues should not be overlooked. Recently, health scares such as bird flu, foot and mouth disease, SARS and other flu epidemics have been of global concern and significance and have indicated to travellers just how important it is to take precautions so that you are covered for health and medical emergencies before and during travel.
Although many travellers are unlikely to come into contact with diseases that are of global concern, it is still important to take the appropriate precautions. No matter where you are travelling, you should undertake some research to find out about the communicable diseases that are relevant to the country or specific area and have the appropriate vaccinations or other precautionary measures before leaving Australia.
If you have allergies or other health conditions, you should bring information from a health professional that gives specific information about your condition and any medications you may be required to take.
It is advantageous for all travellers to carry information pertaining to their vaccinations status, hospitalisation, medication and emergency contacts in case an emergency occurs.
Healthy and ‘unhealthy’ destinations:
Aside from taking the aforementioned precautions, travellers should be aware that some destinations are healthier than others. For example, countries such as: Japan, Australia, Sweden and the Scandinavian nations enjoy good food, access to health facilities and opportunities for active transport, including: hiking, water sports and skiing.
Some other countries are not generally recommended as travel destinations as the risk of contracting diseases from other humans, animals, water and insects is markedly higher. In many countries, access to health treatment and facilities is also problematic.
Do your research to know which countries are affected by health concerns such as: malaria, typhoid, hepatitis, rabies, yellow fever, dengue fever and other diseases.
Consult a health professional or look online to ascertain the vaccines commonly recommended for people travelling to your destination. The risks of being vaccinated are minimal and certainly out weight the risk of contracting a preventable disease. Side effects typically experienced from vaccines for diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid and Yellow Fever include: soreness at the injection site, minor fever, tiredness and headache.
As well as being vaccinated, being up to date with regular immunisations and carrying records of vaccinations and immunisations is important. Travellers who take medications should ensure that their supply is plentiful enough to see them through their trip.
For some travellers, it may be necessary for them to postpone their journey until they are fit to travel and ensure that when they are away, that they have documented information about their medical conditions, the treatments and medications that they are receiving and any allergies that they may have.
For many travel destinations, it is wise to carry over the counter treatments for ailments such as: colds, diarrhoea, nauseas and stomach problems. For tropical and subtropical destinations, it is wise to carry insect repellent, sunscreen, protective clothing and nets.
Travellers have a lot to think about before they take off on their journey. Although planning and making arrangements for accommodation and transport can be consuming, it is important that travellers spend some time and energy researching and taking action to protect themselves against diseases and health concerns that may be prevalent at their destination.