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HealthInfo Canterbury

Travel

International travel is a great way to see new cultures and have exciting experiences. With good planning you can ensure you stay safe and healthy while travelling.

Planning your trip is one of the fun aspects of travelling. It's important to include good health planning in this. Getting sick can really spoil your trip.

There are many good sources of advice for staying healthy while travelling. Some of them are listed below. Many of the websites also have general advice and tips for staying safe and having an enjoyable trip.

Health advice for before your trip

Get travel advice well before your travel date. It can take several weeks for some vaccines to work.

It's especially important to get early advice if:

Check with your GP first, as many practices have staff qualified in travel medicine. You can also search for a specialised travel doctor in the Yellow pages. A doctor specialising in travel medicine can advise you on the health risks in the places you're going to, what vaccinations you should get, and what other precautions you should take.

You'll have to pay for the consultation, and for some vaccinations. But getting vaccinated reduces your chances of getting preventable diseases. Some preventable diseases can make you very sick.

You should also catch up on routine vaccinations and the flu vaccination.

Check that your travel insurance will include bringing you home if needed.

Make sure you know about the risk of diseases carried by mosquitoes, flies, insects and ticks.

Mosquitoes, flies, insects and ticks

Mosquitoes spread infections such as, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya, Zika virus and West Nile fever. Some mosquitoes bite during the day and some at night. People often don't notice mosquito bites.

Tsetse flies carry sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis).

Insects carry Chagas disease (South American trypanosomiasis).

Ticks carry Lyme disease and encephalitis.

The best way to avoid getting these infections is to avoid getting bitten. You can take medicines to help prevent malaria (this factsheet is also available in French, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's travel factsheets page). You can get vaccinated to help prevent yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis. But the other infections don't have medicines or vaccinations.

The best ways to prevent getting bitten are:

Health advice for after your trip

After your trip you should see a doctor if you have a fever (up to a month after you return), muscle aches, ongoing diarrhoea or skin rashes.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated September 2017.

Sources

See also:

Travelling with diabetes

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