If you’re travelling overseas, it’s a wise idea to ensure your travel vaccinations are up-to-date and you have a full health check before you go. No one ever plans to get sick when they go away, but it is best to be prepared just in case.
Many of the GPs at Family Doctors Plus Windsor are experienced in travel medicine and share some general advice with us in today’s blog.
In Australia, infectious diseases aren’t as common due to vaccinations and other public health measures. When travelling therefore, you may be exposed to infectious diseases and if you return to Australia, you could put other people at risk. Some countries even require that you are vaccinated before your visit, and you can be refused entry if you haven’t. That is why it is important to talk with your doctor at least 12 weeks (minimum six weeks) prior to travel to check what vaccines or boosters you may need beforehand. There may be a period to wait between vaccinations to ensure safety, or it make take a couple of weeks to be fully protected.
You may need one or more vaccines for diseases such as:
- hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B
- chickenpox (varicella)
- yellow fever
- tuberculosis (TB)
- meningococcal disease
- Japanese encephalitis
- influenza (flu)
There may also be other infections not covered on this list, depending on the region or country you are going too. Your GP will be able to advise you about other vaccinations needed before travel.
Even if you’ve been vaccinated before, immunity to some diseases can reduce with time, so you may need to get a booster shot. If you have a weakened immune system, your doctor can also check if the vaccines are safe for you and can advise you of any risks or side effects.
Healthy holiday tips
Everyone always wants to have a healthy holiday, and there are some things you can do beforehand or during your holiday to help ensure smooth travels. Health Direct features a handy infographic you can download here, which has some great tips such as:
- See your doctor. Get a health check preferably 6-12 weeks before going overseas. Be up to date with routine vaccinations and ask about other immunisations.
- Always keep a mask handy. Your destination, transit locations and transport provider may still have mandatory mask requirements.
- Get travel insurance. Medicare usually won’t cover you if you’re hurt or unwell overseas. Look for your policy’s COVID cover.
- Protect yourself from mozzies. Parts of the world including South America, Africa and Asia are home to mosquito-borne diseases like yellow fever and malaria.
- Pack personal essentials. Remember things like tampons, nappies, and contraceptives.
- Check for entry requirements. Some countries require a COVID-19 entry declaration. Research what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 while travelling overseas.
- Practise good hygiene. Undertake appropriate hand and respiratory hygiene, and physically distance where possible.
- Research the water quality at your destination. Drinking contaminated could lead to gastro or hepatitis A.
- Be aware of rabies. Warm-blooded animals such as monkeys, dog, and bats can transfer rabies through bites and scratches.
- Check if your medication is legal at your destination. Some medications might need a customs clearance.
Visit www.smarttraveller.gov.au, which is a website set up by the Australian Government offering up-to-date travel advice about your destination.
Where to get help
If you would like to have a consultation regarding travel health, please call us on (07) 3357 8192 or book online at www.familydoctorsplus.com.au/appointments/
Further reading and sources: