Why Travel Medicine:
- Globalization has created an interconnected world, where travel is not the exception but the norm
- Different regions around the world have different health dynamics
- Because of travel, one area’s health trends can easily diffuse into other regions in the world
- The spread of covid-19 virus is a stark example of how travel is key to globalizing local health trends
- Some regions in the world could have health trends that is difficult for the traveller to know
- Ex: pollution in specific lakes, hygiene problems in specific type of street food, condition of tap water
- Some health trends are less serious than others
- Ex: wide-spread malaria epidemic, ebola, bronchitis, AIDS, poisonous spiders
- To bridge the gap between Health and Travel, we would like to promote the subspecialty of travel medicine
- Travel Medicine includes emergency travel medicine, which educates patients on quick emergency responses for common travel emergencies
- Ex: fast response to severe dehydration, what to do in the loss of oxygen in high altitudes, quick responses to bites, motion-sickness
- Similarly, Travel Medicine is responsible for administering travel vaccines to countries that need vaccination proof for common local epidemics. This new service is now being implemented in AHD
When to see your Travel Medicine Doctor?
- A good timeframe to allow exploring planned activity risks with your Doctor is 2-3 weeks before travel
- This is especially the case for travellers to countries that need travel vaccines. This is because vaccines need a timeframe of 2-3 weeks to take effect.
- Travel Medicine consultation is particularly important for travellers with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma or any other health condition. This is to allow the prescription of refills and emergency medication for the specific health condition.
What to share with the Travel Medicine Doctor?
- Travellers are advised to share with their individual physicians as much information about their travel plans as possible including the destination, the dates of travel, length of stay, medical history, activities planned, climate of destination
Travel Medicine Tips:
- Avoid Ice – This is because ice is usually filled from tap water, as opposed to bottled water.
- Avoid drinking Tap Water – Some regions around the world have a high level of contamination in their tap water. This can trigger vomiting, diarrhoea and other problems for unaccustomed drinkers.
- Wear clothes that protect from bug and insect bites
- Routinely check your body for clinging insects or bugs
- Use bug spray that has DEET
- Wear closed shoes – This is to avoid any animal faeces or waste
How to Travel with a health condition:
- A lot of people with health conditions travel
- The key is to plan ahead of time
- Ensure adequate supply of any medications or emergencies
- Ensure taking a list of all medical conditions, medication lists and why you take each medicine (in the case of any emergencies, this will information could be valuable to the medical team at the destination country)
- For destinations with a sunny climate, ensure using sunscreens and sun-blocking clothes
- For destinations with high altitudes (Mountain climbing, trekking), consult your Doctor for an optimal travel experience