Travel Healthy - Top Tips
Anchor Point:TOPPeople travel for all sorts of reasons including holidays, to visit friends and relatives, for business, and for study. In 2011 Irish residents took around 6.3 million visits abroad.
Travellers can be at increased risk of contracting infections which may not be as common, or exist at all, in Ireland. They should therefore be prepared for such risks, and seek advice about their health before their trip.
The first point of call for travel health advice should be the general practitioner (GP), practice nurse, or a specialised travel clinic. Travel health advice should ideally be sought 6-8 weeks before departure in case vaccinations or preventative malaria medications are required for the trip. Remember:
- Some courses of vaccines can take several weeks to complete. Seek advice early.
- Further vaccinations, called boosters, may be needed to provide long-term protection.
- Malaria medication may need to be continued even after returning from your trip.
- Many of the risks faced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccines or medication alone, and a pre-travel consultation provides an opportunity to identify specific risks and discuss how these may be reduced.
Top Tips While You are Abroad
- Take out adequate and appropriate travel insurance.
- Be careful what you eat and drink.
- Dehydration can be a problem, especially in hot countries - avoid over consumption of alcohol and drink plenty of purified water and fluids.
- Do not drink, clean your teeth, wash salads or make ice from local water.
- Always drink boiled, purified or bottled water - check the seal on the bottle is still intact.
- Choose recently cooked hot foods, avoid food that has been kept warm such as open buffets, salads and uncooked or raw foods, particularly shellfish.
- Remember "Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!"
- Be safe in the sun, avoid too much sun exposure, especially between 10am and 3pm and apply a high factor sunscreen which blocks both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Avoid insect bites, use insect repellents and take antihistamine tablets / cream to treat bites. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Practice safe sex. Always use a condom to reduce your risk of infection. Unprotected sex can lead to infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B. Ensure that you pack a supply of condoms as quality varies in different countries.
Before you travel it is advisable to check the Department of Foreign Affairs for information and security advice regarding your country of destination. http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/home/. Please note that by following this link you will be leaving www.spmsd.ie.
For more information and advice for healthy travel visit the healthy travel website. Please note that by following this link you will be leaving www.spmsd.ie.
Take a look at our information pages which provide some tips on staying safe and healthy when you are abroad: