Winter and especially July school holidays are a time when many South Australians look to warmer climes and head off overseas – particularly to Asia or the Pacific with great flight and accommodation deals readily available.
Amid the anticipation of leaving a cold wet Adelaide and lazing by the pool or beach, one very important pre-trip element is often and becoming increasingly overlooked – pre-travel immunisation and medicines. A topic made even more timely by the sad news of the death of an unvaccinated Australian tourist in Thailand this week!*
I hear many comments on the topic of travel vaccines, like:
“It’s just a short flight – barely out of Australia”
“I’m only there a short time”
“It’s not like I’m going somewhere disease ridden”
“It’s OK we’re staying in top class accommodation”
And whilst the risk of becoming infected may not be high (depending on where you are going and what you intend doing at your destination), the outcome, should you be unlucky, is enough to ruin more than just your holiday….
Simple things like checking your tetanus shot is up-to-date is always advisable – this applies in or out of Australia though it’s a lot easier to manage a situation at home should you need to. It’s always advisable to see your local GP before you travel – particularly if you’re headed to a non-western destination. Your GP will have a list of countries and can advise of the risks associated with each and suggest how far in advance of your travel date you should receive the vaccinations – just don’t leave it ’till a day or two before you leave.
Infections are not limited to backpacking and can be life changing, as Kelly Noble from Glam Adelaide discovered after a magnificent holiday in Bali and returned with Hepatitis A – see her blog post: http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/the-best-bali-travel-advice-i-was-never-given/
Some of the more common threats of disease include Malaria – a disease that can sit with you for life if untreated yet is easily avoidable with tablets, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis (not just for Japan) and Yellow Fever. Diseases not so prevalent in Australia due to our immunisation programs such as measles may also present a risk for Australian travellers in some countries – particularly those not previously vaccinated. The reverse side of this risk is that like NSW experienced in 2016, infected travellers may bring back the disease to Australia and cause an outbreak at home.**
In addition, your GP can advise on how to deal with some of the most common ailments that may be experienced whilst overseas – ‘Bali-belly’ (certainly not limited to Bali), Flu and respiratory ailments – easily transmittable in airports and planes and easily the ruination of a relaxing time away!
So, whilst you dream about that beautiful beach and the wonderful adventure just waiting for you, pay a quick visit to your GP or a Travel Doctor beforehand to ensure you or your family members don’t return with any unwanted souvenirs.