As Christmas approaches many of us will start thinking about our holidays and what could be better than planning quality family time? Before you get carried away on Instagram drooling over dream destinations or bookmarking your perfect swimwear ensemble, have you thought about how you can be best prepared for a healthy holiday?
If your upcoming holiday is camping in your back garden with your kids, then good luck and enjoy and check back in with this article when you’re going somewhere a little further afield. If you’re planning a trip to somewhere a little more exotic the following information is important to help you.
PREPARE FOR A HEALTHY HOLIDAY
Let’s kick things off with an overview of some basic safe, healthy holiday items to check off:
Consult a travel GP or travel medicine specialist ahead of your trip
Get the appropriate travel insurance for your trip
Pack an appropriate health and hygiene kit
Take strong mosquito repellent and appropriate clothing to avoid bites
Avoid high risk activities where possible
Avoid contact with local animals such as dogs, cats and monkeys
If you have been ill during or after, book a check-up with your GP immediately
PLANNING AND PREPARATION
A consult with your travel doctor at least 8 weeks (preferably) prior to your departure is the best way to start your healthy holiday preparation. This will enable your health provider to consider your unique health requirements and your destinations in order to devise a vaccination schedule if required.
Check out the governments’ Smart Traveller website. This highly informative website has key destination specific advice regarding cultural, health and safety considerations. In addition, it is important you complete your own research and discuss with your doctor the implications of travel in high risk countries.
Holiday health precautions are relevant for all of us, but especially if you answer yes to any of these questions:
Do you suffer from a chronic or pre-existing illness or disease?
Are you travelling to a high-risk country?
Are you currently or expecting to be taking medicine or other substances during your travels?
Do you intend on travelling to areas that are high in altitude (above 2,500 metres)?
Are you or someone you intend to travel with elderly?
Are you travelling with children?
Dr Patricia O’Connor and Dr Yasu Takao have a special interest in Travel Medicine. They have undergone additional education to ensure that the travel advice they provide is the most recent and up to date information that you can access. Book your appointment today.
Here is our quick guide to travel vaccines:
What is needed? With the assistance of your GP, work out if you need vaccines well in advance of your departure or if you need to take any other medical or hygiene precautions whilst you are on holiday. Some areas of the world are still battling some horrendous, but preventable infectious diseases, so it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from these. It is also essential you are up to date with all your childhood vaccines before leaving the country. If you have gaps in your childhood vaccinations boosters can be added to your travel vaccination schedule.
When and where to get your vaccines? Hawthorne Clinic is a fully accredited Yellow Fever and travel vaccination clinic and we stock all travel vaccinations.
What does it cost for travel vaccinations? Travel Vaccines are not covered by Medicare. The travel consultation with your doctor is covered partly by Medicare. All travel vaccinations are a private cost. Private health insurances may cover some of these vaccinations. Booster vaccinations for missed childhood vaccinations may also attract a fee. Your doctor will provide an estimate of the cost of your vaccinations following your travel health consultation.
What happens if I don’t get vaccinated? Remind yourself the importance of vaccines in our article on the topic here. Travel vaccination not only prevents you and your travel companions from contracting the illness that the vaccination targets but it also prevents the transmission of that infection back to Australia and to vulnerable people in your local community. Many of the vaccinations that we use for travel medicine target illnesses that are not common in Australia due to successful vaccination programs within Australia over the years.
Now that your family holiday is about to become a reality, how do you maximise the enjoyment of you and your travel companions on this hard earned break away?
While this article focus’ on vaccinations and preparation for travel, here are some additional tips:
BYO all personal medications, suncream, health and hygiene products on your adventures as accessibility and availability may be in issue even in English speaking destinations.
Do not carry illegal or non-prescribed drugs and carry a letter of authorisation from your doctor approving any medications that you are taking for personal use.
Be aware of DVT and follow the instructions your airline provides
Consult and keep up to date with Smart Traveller and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade updates
Make sure you have access to clean water and avoid ice in drinks in places where the water is questionable
Take great care when choosing where and what to eat. Choose freshly cooked, hot food from places that have a high patronage.
Be sensible and don’t take risks
Carry appropriate travel first aid equipment – available from Hawthorne Clinic
HOW DO YOU AVOID TRAVEL STRESS?
When we are tired we tend to make more mistakes, so whilst some of these tips may seem quite common sense they are worth a refresher.
The first tool in ensuring stress free travel is in making sufficient time for each leg of your journey. One of the common mistakes people make that create significant stress is tight scheduling. Give yourself plenty of time.
Our second tip for stress free travel is to be prepared for it all to go wrong. Inevitably a flight will be late, a transfer will be missed or one of your children will suffer travel sickness. Significant stress comes from viewing these things as problems, as opposed to being part of the travel process.
Our third tip for stress free travel is to plan for the travel. Planning appropriate activity for the flight or trip is important. Reading and movies can ensure the time is passed as enjoyably as possible. Have lots of activities planned for your children so they can give you some uninterrupted moments. Pre-book children’s meals to ensure that they are served food that they want to eat.
If you’re looking forward to a big trip this year, contact reception for further information on our Travel Medicine services.