Travelers are potentially exposed to a variety of health risks in unfamiliar environments. Most such risks, however, can be minimized by suitable precautions taken before, during and after travel.
Forward planning, appropriate preventive measures and careful precautions can substantially reduce risks of adverse health consequences during travel. Although the information here can guide the public and health-care provider toward more healthy and safe travel, a risk assessment of every traveler should be performed. Travel health advice needs to be tailored both to the individual and to the itinerary.
This information is designed to complement and not replace the relationship that exists with your existing family doctor or travel health professional. Please discuss your travel health requirements with your regular family doctor or practice nurse. Remember that you should always discuss your particular needs or health requirements with your own doctor or nurse.
Tips before travel
- Buy adequate and appropriate travel insurance
- Check with Ministry of Health for general advice for travelers
- Check what vaccinations and chemoprophylaxis you need with your doctor at least six weeks before you travel
- Pack all medicine in your hand luggage
- If you are taking prescribed medication take the prescription and a doctor letter with you
- Most airlines restrict the amount of hand luggage allowed on flights. Check with your airline prior to flying.
- Check your passport validity and visa requirement.
Tips when you are away
- Be safe in the sun. Avoid excessive sunbathing, and wear a high factors sunscreen.
- Drink plenty of water
- Practice safe sex – always use a condom
- If you are staying in one place for a while, find out the local emergency number and the address of the nearest hospital.
Flow chart on pre-travel advice for international travelers
One vaccination does not automatically offer protection against a disease for life. Many vaccines need to be routinely boosted to offer continued protection. The following chart gives some idea of how often boosters should be administered. This chart is offered as a guideline and should be used together with specialist advice.
|BCG (Tuberculosis)||Immunisation only given following a negative heaf test. Protection usually for at least 15 years.||Following immunisation – Immunity after 8-14 weeks.|
|Diphtheria/Tetanus||Following initial course of five doses boost every 10 years for adults and adolescents||Given as a Tetanus/Diphtheria combination for travel to risk areas|
|Hepatitis A||First injection gives protection for one year. Booster at 6-18 months gives protection for 10 years||Protection occurs 10-14 days after the primary dose.|
|Hepatitis B||After initial course of three injections boost after 5 years.||Immunity levels can also be checked with a blood test for those at risk.|
|Influenza||Provides protection for 3-6 months during ‘flu’ season||Be aware of ‘flu’ risk when cruising or travel to Southern Hemisphere|
|Japanese B Encephalitis||Following primary course boost after 2 years|
|Meningitis A&C||After initial vaccination boost every 3-5 years||Travel to Mecca – certificate of injection valid after 10 days.|
|Polio (oral)||After initial course – boost every 10 years|
|Rabies||Following initial course boosters should be administered every 2-3 years||Antibodies are produced 10-14 days after the first injection|
|Tetanus/Diphtheria||Following initial course of five doses boost every 10 years for adults and adolescents||Given as a Tetanus/Diphtheria combination for travel to risk areas|
|Tick Borne Encephalitis||Following initial course protection usually lasts for 3 years.|
|Typhoid (injection)||After initial vaccination boost every 3 years||Partial protection occurs 10-14 days following first injection|
|Typhoid(oral)||Following 3 capsule course protection lasts for 1-3 years||Protection against typhoid following a 3 capsule course is 70% after 7-10 days after initial course|
Source of information: http://travelhealth.co.uk/
|Last Reviewed||:||26 April 2012|
|Writer||:||Dr. Norhayati Rusli|
|Reviewer||:||Dr. Muhaini Othman|