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Travel Health

[ 2 ] December 1, 2009 |

Approximately 1 in 2 travellers will report some kind of illness whilst their travelling. This is not surprising since your body is exposed to more stress while travelling due to the change of environment and conditions. In addition travellers often develop unhealthy habits while travelling such as skipping meals, lack of sleep and excess consumption of alcohol. You are also exposed to many more people than normal who could carry any number of bugs.

You are particularly at risk if you are travelling to tropical climates and countries with substandard health care and hygiene standards. Remember water is not always drinkable and may carry nasty water borne bugs.

While it’s important to take as many preventative measures as possible to avoid getting sick whilst travelling, it is also important to be prepared for the possibility of getting sick.

Health Advisories

Research your destination at Well to Go, the website for the Travel Health Advisory Group. This website provides up to date information on the possible health hazards around the world.

Travel Doctor

Visit your local Travel Doctor and seek advice about the countries you are visiting and the possible health risks. There may be preventative measures you have to take to decrease the chance of getting sick such as vaccinations.

It’s important to see the Travel Doctor at least 6-8 weeks before departure. Don’t leave this to the last minute as some vaccinations take weeks to take effect.

Travelling with Medicine

It is highly likely that at some point during your travels you will need to use medication of some sort. It is particularly important to take with you medications that you use regularly or are likely to use while travelling such as painkillers, allergy relief, cold/flu tablets as well as a round of antibiotics. It can be very difficult to find some medications overseas. If you get sick, you may not be in an area close to a doctor or pharmacy.

It is important to note that many medications you buy overseas will not necessarily be the same strength as medications in Australia, even if they have the same name. Dosage amounts and instructions may not be in English so you need to be very careful with dosages.

In some countries it may be illegal to take in certain types of medication. For example in Greece medication containing codeine is illegal.  Make sure to check with the embassy or consulate of that country for any regulations.

To avoid confusion and possible confiscation at customs always carry medications in their original packaging and always carry a copy of your prescriptions.

Tip: Always take a round of antibiotics since you never know when the inevitable cold is going to turn into an infection. In most countries antibiotics are available by prescription only so you will need to see a doctor to get them. While travelling finding a doctor can be a difficult task.

Note: Always check with government advisories for the latest info on travelling with medicine.

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Category: Travel Tips

About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include,, and now View author profile.

Comments (2)

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  1. Great post! I’ve found travelers insurance very helpful in the event of an emergency, or just to help you find a hospital or doctor that speaks English.

    Not to advertise, but of all the companies I’ve used, World Nomads has been the most helpful and even paid about $5000 in claims when I got hurt abroad and had to fly back to NYC.

    Safe journeys!
    .-= Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside)´s last blog ..I cant hide =-.

  2. Sasha says:

    Hi Jackie, thanks for the comment! Great tip with the travel insurance!

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