Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide
Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide

Medical illnesses can present serious challenges overseas

by Dr Daniel Priest and Dr Donald Leitch – Shoal Bay, NSW

Have you seen random articles on Facebook etc explaining the things that annoy flight attendants? There is quite a list: clipping your toenails … who does that on a plane?? Going barefoot… that’s smelly bad behaviour. Clicking fingers for attention, requesting a temperature change, not bringing a pen (to fill in the customs forms on international flights) to name just a few.

When you travel, especially overseas, there is so much medical advice we can give. Travel doctors are passionate about giving good, relevant, up to date advice in a comprehensive way… not just a few shots and something for malaria. It is such a privilege to be of assistance to help you have a safe and pleasant trip… but we want to do it well… and that takes time and attention.

When you travel, there is so much for a doctor to consider.

Medical illnesses can present serious challenges overseas – how do you travel with insulin? will you get asthma from the fumes in Kathmandu? Is your COPD/chronic lung condition safe for flying (there is less oxygen in a plane at altitude)? Are your medications legal in the country you are visiting? Do you need permission or at least a letter?

Obviously, there are needles (most of the time)… are you travelling where there is Yellow Fever? Hepatitis A&B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies, Tick-Borne Encephalitis… to name a few… let alone routine vaccines to cover you from current outbreaks (like measles) and prevent serious diseases like polio and tetanus.

What about preventing a nasty episode of Bali Belly, Delhi Belly, or whatever name you want to give Traveller’s diarrhoea. There are things you can do, or take, and ways to prepare. Are you going to altitude? Even the fittest, toughest can suffer altitude sickness which can wreck your holiday, not to mention be life-threatening. Do you get regular bouts of infection? asthma? Are you prepared? Do you suffer from motion sickness? Have you thought about safety on the roads? In the surf?

Have you thought about how to care for yourself and what to do if a dog or monkey bites you? Let alone the world’s most dangerous animal… the mosquito! Malaria can kill, and there are so many other diseases spread by mossies. There are different options for malaria prevention and these need explaining and individualising.

Do you have travel insurance? Have you registered with Have you looked at the fabulous app of Dr Debs (‘Travel health’) so you have travel advice at your fingertips overseas?

It gives us real satisfaction helping people plan well for a trip. This is just scratching the surface. There is so much to say that can keep you safe. Please don’t miss the opportunity and please let us do it well.

Safe travels
Dr Daniel Priest and Dr Donald Leitch – Shoal Bay, NSW
(photo taken by Dr Priest)

Rumginae, Western Province, PNG