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October 1, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Student Health – Travel Health

Travel is exciting. It provides an opportunity to explore other countries, experience different cultures and meet new people.
Since we live in a country, which has a high standard of public health, few potentially fatal infections, poisonous animals or insects, it is easy to think that the rest of world is similar. The reality is that once we leave home we are at an increased risk of experiencing travel related health conditions.

Even if you are planning a trip to the Pacific or a week in Bali it is well worth making an appointment with your current medical centre, the Student Health Service (SHS), or the Travel Doctor. Doing so will provide you with relevant information regarding how to protect your health while overseas and provide you with advice about how to reduce your risk of contracting potentially fatal infections such as malaria, rabies and dengue fever.

Time is of the essence, please try and schedule a travel health appointment a month or two before your departure date. This is necessary as some travel immunisations take a few weeks before they are able to provide you with protection against infection. However, even if you are leaving in only one or two weeks’ time it is still recommended that you make a travel health appointment. This is particularly relevant if you are travelling to a high risk area, for example parts of South East Asia and India both of which are popular destinations for students.

The doctor will ask you if you have any on- going health conditions or allergies and they will need to know your immunisation history. If you are unsure of your immunisation history it may be necessary to have a blood test to check if you are immune against some diseases. There are charges for these tests and results take between four days to a month.

If you require immunisation you will be asked to make an appointment with one of the nurses. Often you are able to receive all the immunisations you require in one visit but depending on the number and the type of vaccines prescribed some students may require two or three visits.

The doctor will also provide you with written information regarding food and water safety, malaria prevention, and common infections experienced by tourists such as travellers’ diarrhea prescriptions for any regular medication you may take and other medications such as oral replacement salts and antibiotics to treat diarrhoea and urinary tract infections, tablets to help reduce the risk of contracting malaria, condoms and the emergency contraceptive pill. General safety advice including how to deal with jet lag, sexual health, safe air travel

If you are planning to go diving during your trip it is also recommended that you schedule another appointment with a doctor for a Diving Medical. It is important to remember that it is dangerous to dive before air travel. You will need to wait at least twelve-twenty four hours before flying.

If you are travelling to South America or Africa, planning long term travel, or if you may require immunisations for Yellow
Fever, Rabies or Japanese encephalitis we recommend that you make an appointment at The Travel Doctor, Grand Arcade, 14-16 Willis Street, telephone 473 0991. The Travel Doctor offers a 10 per cent discount off products such as insect repellent and water purifying tablets from their Travel Shop for people with a current Victoria University Identification Card.

For more information regarding travel health visit http://www.victoria.ac.nz/ studenthealth/guide/travel.aspx 

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