Are you thinking about travelling overseas after the opening of more international borders? So am I. But before you buy your tickets or hop on that plane, you need to bear essential travel health advice in mind. These are simple measures to take. To make all your trips safer.
I have always enjoyed the allure of international travel. The expectation of engaging in activities to enjoy my destination keeps me excited. So, with my close friend, I booked a cruise holiday to China for 2020. And then COVID happened, causing the closure of most international borders. I can’t wait for things to normalise.
Travel is a good corrective for mental nearsightedness — if the traveler will cast aside his prejudices.Paul Harris
As the COVID19 Pandemic becomes manageable, the opening of international borders will expand. As a result, more people will embark on their tourism, studies, work, and business journeys. Travel incentives by various governments and international airlines will help drive this change.
The field of Travel Medicine focuses on travelling individuals. Travel medicine involves providing travellers with Travel medicine involves providing good travel health advice and vaccines based on locations. General Practitioners or Family Physicians with knowledge or experience practise travel medicine.
Travel health advice in general
Travel health advice comprises measures to undertake before, during and after a trip.
Travel health advice before your travel
First, check official government websites for advice and warnings about travellers’ safety. For instance, Smartraveller allows Australian travellers to register their trips. Also, the CDC website provides updates on emerging geographical diseases.
Secondly, arrange a consultation with your GP/ Family Doctor. The doctor will consider your medical history and travel itinerary to give you the best advice. Give your doctor the list of your medications, drug allergies, vaccines you have received, and past travel history.
Also, provide your doctor with relevant information, such as the countries you travel to and your stopovers. When will you embark on your journey, and how long is your intended stay? Do you plan to stay in urban or rural locations?
What activities do you plan to undertake, and what is the likelihood that you will come in contact with mosquitoes and wild animals?
If you intend to travel while pregnant, bear the following in mind. Most international airlines refuse trips after 36 weeks of gestation for single pregnancies. Also, twin pregnancies cannot travel after 32 weeks. Most airlines decline flights within the first two days after natural childbirth.
Buy comprehensive travel insurance. The insurance companies usually consider your pre-existing medical conditions, destinations and the activities you will undertake there. Besides, good travel insurance includes medical evacuation for medical treatment if required.
Buy an excellent First aid kit containing the relevant health products you can use in an injury or medical emergency.
Travel vaccinations are administered depending on your travel destinations and specific health conditions. In addition, most countries now request International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates in the current pandemic climate.
Print out a copy of your health summary and a list of medications. Also, have an emergency contact list and medical alert bracelets. These bracelets show chronic health conditions and severe allergies.
Malarial prevention prophylaxis is essential for those travelling to high-malaria countries. Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Oceania have high malarial cases. There are many malarial preventive medications available.
You should take most malarial drugs from a day before travel till one to four weeks after your return.
Travel health advice during your trip
Safety in flight: Measures to lower the risk of leg clots include keeping hydrated, reducing alcohol intake, and moving about as much as possible.
Drink only bottled water and avoid raw vegetables and food. This practice will reduce contracting water-borne diseases: gastroenteritis, hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid fever.
Use of seat belts and helmets when operating vehicles is excellent for abiding by national laws. It also reduces personal injuries and deaths from vehicular motor accidents.
Avoid animal bites to lower the likelihood of rabies and tetanus infections. Also, do not bathe in still water, increasing the risk of schistosomiasis.
Mosquito avoidance measures lower the risks of malaria, Ross Virus, and dengue fever. Malarial avoidance strategies include sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets and wearing long-sleeved clothing.
Also, it would be best to avoid perfumes and aftershave as they attract mosquitoes. Finally, avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
Practice safe sex through the use of condoms and vaginal dams. Doing this will lower the risks of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
What to do after your return
You should book another appointment with your General Practitioner on your return, especially if you develop a post-travel fever. Your doctor will review your trip, including compliance with antimalarial prevention. You will then undergo the necessary blood tests and then receive treatment.
As more international borders open, more people will head overseas. So, it will be essential to have health travel advice in place. This advice includes specific measures to take before, during and after your trips.
How has the current COVID19 Pandemic affected your travel plans?
Will you consider undertaking any of the health travel advice listed above?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for your time.