Spent too much time planning for your trip with no time to organise other pre travel must do’s? Here is a travel health checklist to keep you organised and on task.
- Get travel insurance when you book your trip to cover unforseen events before you leave home. Don’t wait until you are about to leave.
- Ensure your passport has at least 6 months before expiry. Australian Passport Office has a 10 day turnaround (or 2 day for an extra fee) but allow extra time for postage and handling.
- Register your travel plans and contact details online with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade so in event of an emergency such as a cyclone, they can contact you to update you with the latest safety information. You can register on smartraveller.gov.au
- Check the latest health alerts and warnings from smartraveller.gov.au.
- Ensure that you are up to date with your travel immunisations.
- If you are traveling with prescription medication, obtain a letter from your GP with the list of medications you are carrying. Leave your medications in your carry-on bags. Ensure you have enough medicines to last the duration of your trip.
- See a doctor to discuss travel health issues specific to your travel destination. The best time is 6 – 8 weeks before you leave to ensure that you can build up immunity if you require vaccinations. Depending on the destinations you are traveling to and the activities you are planning, issues such as malaria prophylaxis, self-management of traveller’s diarrhoea, prevention of motion sickness or what to pack in a travel kit can be discussed. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, it is important that you discuss with your doctor to optimise your health before you travel.
- Leave a copy of your passport and travel documents with your family at home and a spare one in the separate luggage. You can also copy these documents and email them to yourself so you can always access a copy.
- Ensure you have adequate fluid intake while on the plane and keep mobile to reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis. Take an alcohol based hand rub.
- Don’t touch, feed or pat local animals. Rabies risk is serious and real. If you are bitten or scratched overseas, you need to thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water for at least 5 minutes and seek medical attention as soon as possible, preferably within 24 – 48 hours.
- Ensure that you apply adequate sunscreen and practice sun safe measures.
- Avoid exposure to blood or bodily fluids such as sharing a razor or unprotected sex.
- Ensure adequate mosquito and insect protection to prevent vector borne infections such as dengue fever.
- Enjoy the food but check that you “boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it.”
- Follow local customs and rules.
- Drive safely – obtain international driving licence before you leave if you are planning to drive. Driving a motorcycle without the appropriate licence will void your travel insurance if you have an accident. Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol. Wear helmets and other protective clothing when riding motorcycle or scooter to minimise the risk of injury.
- If you are diving overseas, join the Divers Alert Network (DAN) which provides emergency assistance and evacuation that is usually not covered by normal travel insurance.
- See your doctor if you are sick when you return from your trip.
Call us on 3257 0841 if you have a pre-existing medical condition and unsure of whether you are fit to travel or if you would like to discuss any aspects of your travel plan with a doctor. For more information on our travel clinic, visit: Doctors @ Teneriffe Travel Clinic.
HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE TRIP
MBBS (Monash) FRACGP
Dr. Chris is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine and has a Certificate in Travel Health. His recent trip to the Solomon Island as a volunteer doctor and amateur diver opened his eyes to the amazing tropical paradise as well as the equally amazing range of tropical diseases.