Travel Medicines

travel medicine

It’s that time of year when people (other than me) have time off from work and can do some travelling!

It’s important for those who take regular medicines to be organised and find out what restrictions may apply in the country(ies) they are heading to.  It is also important to find out what vaccinations and other medicines are needed or recommended for your destination of travel.  The best place to obtain this information is www.smartraveller.gov.au

Travelling with medicines

If you take regular medicines, for example for high blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, pain etc it is important to take your medicines in their original packaging labelled from the pharmacy.  It is also a good idea to have a statement from your Doctor of what medicines you take.  Keep your medicines in your hand luggage in case your main luggage ends up at a different destination.  You can not use a prescription from your home country in another so you need to take enough medicine with you.

Thyroxine and insulin are usually stored in a refrigerator.  They can often be stored out of the fridge for short periods of time.  Speak with your Pharmacist before travel to work out a plan for storage.

If you need to use needles for injecting be sure to have a letter from your Doctor and present the items for screening.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required when travelling to certain destinations.  If you are travelling overseas it is a good idea to visit your Doctor a few months before to discuss what vaccinations may be needed.

Other illness prevention

Apart from vaccinations there are other ways to prevent illness.

Malaria is common in many countries and your Doctor can prescribe medication to prevent contracting it.  In addition to medication it is important to be sensible when out and about in malarial countries.

  • It is best to limit time outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wearing long sleeves, insect repellent and making sure your sleeping environment is protected from mosquitoes is also important.
  • Adequate sunscreen is important especially with certain malarial prevention medicines.

Travellers’ diarrhoea is a common ailment when travelling.  It is a good idea to take medication to treat diarrhoea in case it is needed.  Ideally a case of diarrhoea should be allowed to run its course but if it is severe or you need to travel medicine is helpful to stop it.  Preventing dehydration is very important in cases of travellers’ diarrhoea.  Rehydration solutions can be made from tablets/sachets and bottled water to sip on. Common sense and good hygiene is really important in preventing diarrhoea.

  • Drink only boiled or bottled water.
  • Eat only well cooked food or food that you peel yourself.
  • Do not eat raw or reheated food.
  • Wash and air dry hands before eating.
  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
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