Prior to jetting off on holidays it is a good idea to check in with your GP to ensure your travel is not marred by avoidable illness. Conditions such as malaria and typhoid are typical diseases that can be encountered overseas and are preventable with a little forward planning. Don’t leave it until the last minute, most vaccinations need at least two weeks to become effective.
You can check each of the regions you plan to travel to in detail at the Centre for Disease Control travel website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
I particularly appreciate the CDC website as it distinguishes between different types of travellers and travel – for example those travelling while pregnant or going to work in disaster relief will have very different needs to those lazing on a cruise ship.
It’s good to organise a first aid kit for travel. A basic kit could include oral re-hydration salts, eye drops, sunscreen, insect repellent, antiseptic solution, and simple dressings. According to your travel, you may also like to consider other medications such as motion sickness tablets and antibiotics on the advice of your doctor.
If you are taking prescription medications leave them in their original, labelled packaging, and take a letter of support from you GP (no one wants to get stuck in customs!). Having an up to date health care summary can also be very helpful in the event of illness when you may need to consult a health care practitioner who is not familiar with your medical history.
Also carefully consider travel insurance. Some countries have reciprocal health care arrangements with Australia (https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements) but this does not entirely replace the need for private insurance.
Dr Cath Hester
These articles are not intended to replace a one-to-one relationship with a qualified health professional or as specific medical advice. They are intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from experience and research in the scientific literature. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon a partnership with a qualified health care professional.