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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Travel

Haerenga

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. Some countries require proof of certain vaccines for you to be allowed into the country. These may include COVID-19 and yellow fever. These requirements can change often. It can take several weeks for some vaccines to work.

It's especially important to get early advice if:

Check with your general practice team 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 catch up on routine vaccinations and the flu vaccination. Also, get up to date with COVID-19 booster vaccinations.

Check that your travel insurance will include bringing you home if needed. And that it will cover you in any countries you're stopping over in, even if only briefly. Medical care in some countries can be very expensive and you may have to pay for it before you get any treatment.

Mosquitoes, flies, insects and ticks

Make sure you know about the risk of diseases carried by 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 do not 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page has factsheets in English, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Spanish). You can get vaccinated to help prevent yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis. But the other infections do not have medicines or vaccinations.

The best ways to prevent getting bitten are to:

Waterborne infections

Many infectious diseases can spread through water. Be sure to only drink safe water (sometimes known as potable water). This might mean buying bottled water in some countries.

Only use safe water to brush your teeth. Even the small amount of water used for this could give you a serious illness.

When dining out, be aware that ice in drinks may have been made with unsafe water – it's OK to ask for no ice. Also be aware that uncooked foods such as salads may also have been washed in unsafe water. Choose carefully.

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.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2023.

Sources

See also:

Travelling with diabetes

Page reference: 57355

Review key: HITRA-57355