Holiday vaccinations can go a long way in preventing illnesses.
 

With a little preparation, you can make your travelling experience an enjoyable and healthy one.

Before Your Trip

Holiday Vaccinations

Consult your doctor about the holiday vaccinations required and the special health concerns of those places you will be visiting.

Travel Medication

If you have a long-term medical condition (like high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma), ask your doctor to prescribe enough medicine to last the whole trip.

Health Card

Always carry a health card with the following information:

  • Your blood group
  • Any allergies to medicines or foods
  • A record of your vaccinations
  • A brief medical record
  • A list of your medicines and their doses
  • Name and contact of your regular doctor
  • Name and contact of person to notify in case of an emergency
 

Avoid travelling if you:

  • Have a severe chronic lung disease
  • Have had a recent heart attack or stroke (within 4-6 weeks)
  • Are recuperating from a minor surgical operation, e.g. laparoscopic surgery (within 7 days)
  • Are severely anaemic (i.e. your haemoglobin level is less than 7g%)
  • Are in the late stages of pregnancy (beyond 35 weeks)
  • Have a severe middle ear or sinus infection
  • Have a contagious or communicable disease
  • Have been scuba-diving within 24 hours of flying

If you have any of these conditions and need to fly, please consult your doctor and the airline you intend to fly with for medical clearance.

During Your Trip

Prevent Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are diseases caused by living organisms like viruses and bacteria. They can be passed from person to person through body secretions, insects, or other means. Examples are SARS, influenza, the common cold, tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis A and B.

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy on Your Travels

  • Practice good personal hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol hand rub if there are no washing facilities.
  • Avoid touching someone else's respiratory secretions, wet tissues or handkerchiefs.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who looks unwell.
  • Avoid sharing eating utensils, towels and bedding with others.
  • Use a serving spoon when eating from a common plate.
  • Monitor your health closely. Seek medical attention if you feel unwell.

Prevent Food & Water Borne Diseases

Eating food or drinking water contaminated with germs can cause:

  • Traveller’s diarrhoea
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A
 

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy on Your Travels

  • Avoid undercooked meat and seafood, especially shellfish.
  • Eat only food that has been properly cooked and is still hot when served.
  • Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled or disinfected with chlorine.
  • Avoid salads, peeled fruit, unpasteurised milk, ice-cream and ice cubes.

Prevent Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquitoes can transmit diseases like:

  • Malaria
  • Dengue haemorrhagic fever
  • Yellow fever
  • Japanese B encephalitis
 

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy on Your Travels

  • Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing and long pants, especially when outdoors at night.
  • Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin. Repeat the application (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) as the repellent wears off.
  • If your bedroom is not air-conditioned, sleep under a mosquito net or in a room where the windows are fitted with fine wire netting. Light a mosquito coil before going to bed.
  • Get yourself vaccinated against yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis if you are travelling to areas where these diseases are common.
  • If you are going to countries where malaria is common, ask your doctor for anti-malaria tablets. You will have to start taking these tablets before you go. Continue throughout your trip and for a period after your return.
  • There are no vaccines or preventive tablets for dengue haemorrhagic fever. Just take precautions to avoid mosquito bites during the day.

After Your Trip

Consult your doctor after your trip if you:

  • Feel unwell and have any of the symptoms listed in the complete guide below.
  • Have been travelling for more than 3 months.
  • Have been to rural areas, developing countries or a place with a recent epidemic of an infectious disease.
  • Have been ill or been in contact with ill people during your trip.
  • Have engaged in high-risk activities overseas (e.g. visited prostitutes, shared needles).

Even if you feel well, you may choose to go for a post-travel check-up as some infections may have no symptoms or have very long incubation periods, i.e. the time period from the first exposure to the germ to when symptoms first show up. The infected person may look and feel well during this period.

Download our complete guide (in PDF format) and find out more.

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