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Taking the right precautions will help keep you safe and well while travelling

Introduction

When taking an overseas trip the last thing you want is to get sick.

This special health handbook will help you improve your chances of having a safe and healthy journey, and an enjoyable trip.

You will find out what you need to know to help prevent problems, how to stay safe and minimize risks while you are on the move, and how to treat common conditions while you are away.

Description: When taking an overseas trip the last thing you want is to get sick.

When taking an overseas trip the last thing you want is to get sick.

Be prepared

Proper planning is the best way to stay healthy. This is particularly important if you are planning on a long trip or going to remote areas.

Proper travel planning takes time – you really should start preparing for your trip at least six weeks before you go.

Begin by doing some homework about your destination. Check out any possible risks, health problems or security issues.

A good place to start your research is the government’s Smartraveler website where you will find the latest safety and health information for Australians travelling overseas.

Description: Proper travel planning takes time – you really should start preparing for your trip at least six weeks before you go.

Proper travel planning takes time – you really should start preparing for your trip at least six weeks before you go.

Your health and safety risks on an overseas journey depend on several things:

·         Where you go: The issues you need to consider may vary even within one region. For example, the risks for visiting cities will be quite different to the risks you may encounter visiting rural areas.

·         What you will be doing: Adventure travel (climbing, hiking, kayaking, etc.) increases risks. As does eating from street stalls, swimming and bathing in local rivers, or doing humanitarian work.

·         Type of accommodation: Will you be staying in luxury hotels and resorts with all the mod cons or will you be camping? Or bedding down somewhere in between?

·         Your health history: Your age, medications, allergies and pre-existing medical conditions all make a difference.

·         How long you will be away from home. The risk of illness or injury may be higher in less-wealthy countries, but certain advice applies to all travelers regardless of destination.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade encourages you to register your plans via the Smartraveler website before you leave Australia. The registration information you provide can help people contact you in an emergency and can also be used to pass on travel advice updates and other important information.

Health check-up

Your first goal should be to avoid the need for medical and dental care while you are away.

If you have a medical condition, or you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning a pregnancy or travelling with babies or young children, it’s especially important to seek health advice before you travel.

Even if you are fit and healthy and planning a trip to a low-risk destination, one of your first stops should be a consultation with your GP.

Make sure your routine medical care is up-to-date. For example, when was the last time you had a Pap smear test? You might like to take the opportunity of this visit to your GP to get to the bottom of any niggling health concerns you have.

Description: Your first goal should be to avoid the need for medical and dental care while you are away.

Your first goal should be to avoid the need for medical and dental care while you are away.

Also, make sure to talk to your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines that you will need to take with you.

In particular ask about immunizations’. Are your childhood vaccinations up to date? Have you had a booster shot for tetanus in the past10 years? Should you have an influenza vaccination? What other vaccinations may you need for your trip?

Not all GPs can provide travel health advice, which is why expert travel health services are available.

Travel medicine specialists are knowledgeable about current health risks in every country. They can ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date and offer travel vaccines and other medicines. They can also advise on non-infectious health risks and self-treatment and provide medical kits to meet individual requirements.

You should also schedule a visit with your dentist well before your departure date so that any necessary dental work can be done.

 

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