Archive for the ‘Narre Warren’ Category

Influenza Vaccine 2016


Dr Michael Long  TMA Narre Warren

Huh?!  I don’t need a flu shot for going to Thailand, Europe or the US do I? Isn’t the flu just a cold or the “man flu” or something the oldies get?

WRONG WRONG WRONG! Keep reading fellow travellers for more info

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Typhoon Haiyan travel advice

Prepared by TMA member Narre Warren

It is now over a month since Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Phillipines) struck the Philippines on 8/11/13. The worst hit provinces were Leyte and Eastern Samar, which experienced sustained winds of 270 kph, gusts of up to 312 kph, and a storm surge in coastal areas as high as 7 metres. Not all travel is for pleasure. Typhoon Haiyan travel advice is be prepared and be informed.

The official death toll from the Phillipines Government is approaching 6000, the injury toll 27000, and 1800 people as of mid December 2013 are still listed as missing. These figures are considered by most to be conservative.

Enormous international aid efforts are underway. Significant infrastructure damage has caused problems with sanitation, food supply, electricity, transportation, shelter, communications, security, and medical care.

This all has implications for people who are considering travelling with aid organisations, or in those visiting relatives and friends to help them. 

The following advice applies to both groups of travellers:

1                Take a kit with you from your travel medicine clinic to treat diarrhoea; diarrhoeal illnesses are likely to be more common after a disaster where serious flooding has occurred. Follow the usual safe food and water precautions advised by your travel clinic

2                Use mosquito repellents with more than 30% DEET to prevent mosquito borne illnesses such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya. Mosquitos will breed in greater numbers around flooded areas. The areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan are the islands of Leyte, Samar and Cebu; they are not affected by malaria so malaria tablets are not required for these islands.

3                Be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid; update your tetanus injections as debris clearing will often result in injury. Have a flu injection, and speak to your travel Doctor about other vaccines you may need.

4                Avoid injury—most deaths after a natural disaster are due to blunt trauma, crush-related injuries, and drowning. Use caution around damaged or down power lines, 

water-affected electrical outlets, and interrupted gas lines.

5                 Avoid stray or frightened animals. Seek medical help immediately if you are bitten or scratched by an animal and wash out the wound. Consider rabies vaccination before you go, or seek rabies vaccination within 48 hours of any animal bites.



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Riding Motorbikes in Vietnam; THINK TWICE!

… Prepared by TMA Member Narre Warren: Dr Michael Long

There is plenty of evidence statistics to suggest that Vietnam is quite simply in love with the motorbike. Motorbike travel in Vietnam was popularised further with Western TV viewers with the 2008-9 Top Gear Vietnam special where the heroic Jeremy Clarkson with his friends May and Hammond sputtered their way on feeble underpowered motorcycles from Saigon to Ha Long Bay.

“Motos” are a common sight on the roads of Vietnam and far outnumber cars. The current estimate of the motorbike population in Vietnam is approximately 20 million, one for every four and a half people of their population of 90 million; (indeed they are often the family sedan with Mum, Dad and 2 kids traveling on a small 50-100cc motorbike or motor scooter.)

Motos are not just for transporting people either. Not having a car doesn’t hold the Vietnamese back at all as you can just attach 3 metre lengths of timber cross ways across your moto, attach 30 coconuts to the back, pull a motorbike trailer behind you carrying anything, or even carry a moto on the back of your moto! (the writer observed all of these on a recent trip).

Driving on the right hand side of the road is the least of your worries riding motos in Vietnam. Road rules are often regarded as optional, motos ride on footpaths in Saigon peak hour, no one gives way at roundabouts and pedestrian crossings are completely ignored. The country’s rampant love affair with motorbikes has been associated with a substantial number of collisions; the road toll in Vietnam is approximately 13,000 per year which is 2-3 times the rate per capita in Australia.

Despite their kamikaze attitude to road rules and safety, there remains a great interest in motorbikes in Vietnam. You don’t need a license to ride a moto in Vietnam, but remember the commonest cause of death in travelers overseas is not some exotic illness like malaria, but is due to the depressingly familiar occurrence of motor vehicle accidents.

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