This month we discuss the importance of preparing travellers for difficult access to healthcare abroad, including carrying a medical kit. Plus, the new Ixiaro schedule.

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Welcome to our December edition of Travel Health Bulletin. This month we look at the importance of discussing illness and injury abroad, limited healthcare services in developing countries and the importance of all travellers being prepared with a suitable medical kit.

Many travellers don’t like to think or consider the possibility of getting sick or having an illness or injury whilst travelling abroad and for majority of travellers their trip will be a healthy and happy one.  Unfortunately health problems are common in travellers and as travel health specialists we should be discussing the importance of staying healthy abroad to prevent infection and illness. For example, prevention against food and water borne infections is better than suffering severe travellers’ diarrhoea (TD) and having to take an antibiotic to treat it.

As well as TD, Travellers need to be alert to the risk of natural disasters and road traffic accidents. Time should be allocated to every travel health consultation to discuss these risks and well as any others that may be relevant to traveller’s itinerary. Discussion should be had on appropriate travel health insurance and the importance of being prepared to deal with the situation as much as is possible.

It is vital that travellers take personal responsibility for their health abroad. It is very common in clinic to hear from travellers that they are delegating the responsibility of their health to their Tour Company, hotel or local medical services (“The travel company I am will have a medical kit”, “The hotel will be able to help us out if we need anything”, “We are not going far from the city there will be healthcare available if we need it”) with little understanding or education that medical skills and standards of medical practice in the country are not always up to UK standards and may be inadequate.  Cultural and language barriers also need to be considered. Travellers should be warned of unsterile equipment, counterfeit medication and ineffective vaccines and advised to travel with their own medical kit that contains both medicines and sterile equipment.

Choosing the right medical kit

Many travellers find it quite difficult knowing what type of medical kit is suitable for their type of travel. Experts in medical kits and first aid for travel, Nomad has produced a guide to helping travellers choose the right medical kit for their trip.  Unlike most other medical kit suppliers, Nomad are able to prescribe and include antibiotics in some of our medical kits which can deal with a multitude of common health problems experienced by travellers. These include travellers’ diarrhoea, ear and nose problems, chest infections, sinus issues and skin infections. Travellers visiting developing and poorly resourced countries where counterfeit medication is a serious problem should seriously consider a medical kit that contains antibiotics.  

Ixiaro – Japanese encephalitis NEW rapid schedule 

Great news for our last minute clients travelling to South East Asia and Far East visiting high risk areas for Japanese Encephalitis! The vaccine can now be given on a rapid schedule day 0 and day 7. A sero conversion rate of 99% has been observed 7 days after the second vaccine. This rapid schedule is currently only licensed for individuals aged 18 – 65 yrs. For children from 2 months or adults over 65 the original schedule of 28 days should be adhered to.

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