Ahmad Chehade, PharmD. Candidate
The feeling you get before taking off on an adventure to somewhere you’ve never been before is unparalleled. Taking a holiday and getting away from life’s routine is a great way to unwind and destress. However, the last thing you want while on your getaway is for you or someone around you to get sick, especially when it’s something preventable. Today, we’re going to touch on the importance of seeing a certified travel health practitioner before heading out on your vacation.
Who can you see?
Accessing travel health services, whether it’s for vaccinations or general information can be overwhelming, especially in the midst of planning a trip. For this reason, we always recommend you set up an appointment with a practitioner right after you’ve decided on where you want to go. Depending on the time and destination you’re travelling to, there are a variety of different risks to be aware of. A professional opinion can ensure that you’re safe and protected during your vacation.
Various practitioners from different branches of healthcare can provide you with pre-travel health consultations. When choosing a practitioner, you want to be sure that they’re knowledgeable and experienced in the field, as you’re trusting them with your well-being. The ISTM is an accreditation that many travel health practitioners carry, whether they be pharmacists, nurses, or physicians. Before scheduling your appointment, you may want to ensure that your practitioner has their ISTM certification.
What you need to check before travelling:1
Specific considerations can vary based on destination, but these tips can apply to almost any trip you plan on taking.
- Make sure you’re up to date on all your vaccinations. These include all routine shots in addition to whatever travel immunisations your practitioner deems appropriate. Travel vaccines will vary based on region and hence require assessment by your travel health practitioner.
- Be sure to bring enough medications for the entire duration of your trip, plus extra. You can never be too sure of what may happen while you’re away, and it never hurts to be prepared. Also, it’s a good idea to bring a list of all your medications and allergies and keep this with you at all times.
- Avoid using or drinking tap water, ice made from tap water, and unwashed or unpeeled produce. Local water and produce may contain bacteria or viruses that may cause traveller’s diarrhoea among other illnesses. You should drink pre-bottled water whenever possible, and generally avoid anything that isn’t cooked, peeled, boiled or washed (with bottled water) beforehand.
- Consider packing Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS), sometimes called electrolytes. This is especially important when travelling with children. In case of diarrhoea or vomiting where you may become severely dehydrated, ORS products can help restore your normal fluid and electrolyte balance.
- Avoid animals whenever possible. When travelling to foreign countries, stray animals can be common. Bites from strays pose a risk of contracting rabies, which can be life-threatening if not immediately treated.
In the end, preparation is always key; we hope that these few tips help set you on the right track to enjoying your well-deserved getaway. As always, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram or at firstname.lastname@example.org.