With constant newsstories of the Zika virus andmeasles outbreaks surfacing, it’s natural to be worried about your health and safety concerns before taking a holiday.
We want to help you understand to which regions are currently experiencing health risks, and which vaccinations may be crucial for your next trip. Here, we explore some of the most common immunisationsto provide you peace of mind before you jet off.
What to ask yourself
There are various factors you should take into account when organisingyour holiday. You should be very aware of any current health concerns, and should ask yourself the following questions:
- What activities do you plan to do overseas?
- Are you visiting a rural or urban area?
- What time of year are you planning on travelling?
You may need the help of a professional health travel advisor to answer these questions.
Think about your unique circumstances
Also think about your personal travelling style. Imagine the difference in health concerns between a business traveller staying at a five-star penthouse suite and an aid worker in a disaster zone. These people are both subject to various conditions and comparative risks, but one should take more precautions than the other.
Travellers may even have to take different vaccinations for different regions in the same country; it’s important to known the exact risks of whatever location you’re travelling. Japanese encephalitis, for example,is common throughout rural Southeast Asia but is not commonly found in built-up locations. Although there is a successful Japanese encephalitis vaccine, it’s worth remembering the difference between rural and urban areas.
Consider the weather
It’s recommended that you use vaccines during the rainy season in Southeast Asia, which occurs from May to September.
Advise your doctor of pre-existing conditions
As well as researching your destination and activities, it’s vital you enquire about your pre-existing health conditions or any chronic illnesses you may suffer from.
Plan, plan, plan
Research available medical facilities before you take your trip, and bring extra prescriptions and also pack a travel sized health kit containing motion sickness treatments and painkillers.
Invest in insurance
It is crucial you ensure your health insurance provider and credit card companies will work in the healthcare systems you may need when abroad. Make sure you are covered and thatyou are provided with evacuation insurance. Evacuation insurance ensures you won’t have to choose between treatment in a poorly equipped hospital or paying the ludicrous $100,000 evacuation charge.
Choosing a doctor or specialist
It’s likely your usual doctor won’t be sufficiently educated in travel medicine to be able to advise you. The majority of general practitioners don’t tend to invest their time learning about foreign and seasonal illnesses. Because of this, they are often unable to provide the required vaccinations, and it is important to seek the help of a suitable and trusted travel health specialist. To assist you in finding a provider, you can use an online directory such as the International Society of Travel Medicine, which lists all the certified specialists.
When planning your itinerary, also include the incubation period for vaccines – it is best to visit your specialist around four to six weeks before youtravel. Also make a point to understand the potential risks if you don’t plan ahead. The majority of travel-related problems are preventable but many travellers do not realisethe importance of vaccinations until it’s too late.
Above all, travelling is a great thing that can be made a lot better and enjoyable if you take the correct measures to protect yourself.