When you travel abroad, you leave behind Australia’s support systems, emergency service capabilities and medical facilities. The Australian Government will do what it can to help Australians in difficulty overseas, but there are legal and practical limits to what can be done to assist travellers in other countries.
You should have realistic expectations about this and read the Consular Services Charter, before you go.
Read more at smartraveller.gov.au
Staying healthy overseas
Make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up at least six to eight weeks before you depart to find out if any vaccinations or further health checks are required for your destination.
It’s important that you discuss your personal travel plans with a health professional to ensure you have the correct vaccinations for your trip and any booster doses of childhood vaccinations you may need.
- Vaccines can prevent you from contracting some diseases, but it’s also important to remember:
- New vaccines are constantly being released but diseases continue to evolve.
- Vaccinations may be an entry requirement of some countries so check with the foreign mission of the countries you are intending to visit or transit. In some countries you may be refused entry or required to have the vaccination at the border. We recommend you seek medical advice from your GP or travel doctor and have any vaccinations prior to leaving Australia.
- It’s never too late to vaccinate; however, some vaccines require a long period to take effect and more than one dose may be needed.
- You may need boosters for childhood vaccines.
- Health risks within a country can vary from one region to another and local authorities may be slow to announce outbreaks of disease.
- New diseases can appear suddenly, as happened with the outbreak of the pandemic influenza (H1N1) in 2009. Check the latest travel advice and travel bulletins for your destination before you depart and while travelling so you can ensure you have the latest information.
- Common illnesses that travellers can pick up include those which result from eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Find out whether tap water and local food is safe to consume before you depart.
- There are a number of mosquito-borne diseases you can contract while overseas, particularly in tropical areas. Be sure to take measures to avoid being bitten such as wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs, regularly applying an appropriate insect repellent and staying in mosquito proof accommodation.
If you’re taking medicines overseas, it’s recommend that you:
- discuss with your doctor the medication you’ll need to take
- carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medication is, how much you’ll be taking with you, and stating that it’s for your own personal use
- leave the medication in its original packaging so it’s clearly labelled with your name and dosage instructions.
Being prepared will give you the best chance at staying healthy and having an enjoyable time.
MASTA provides professional travel health advice to doctors, pharmacists, pathologists, corporations, government departments and travel agents. This advice is available immediately online to subscribers to stay up to date with breaking travel news.