Up-to-date and ready to travel
For many people a quick trip to the doctor is a sure-fire way of making sure all your vaccinations are up-to-date and you are fit to travel. The Federal Government’s Smart Traveller website includes a section called ‘Health checks and vaccinations’, which recommends people start travel health planning at least six weeks before heading abroad. Health planning can be tailored to suit the country you are travelling to and some people may find, if they are up-to-date with their vaccinations, they do not need to be immunised against anything. But this, of course, depends on where you are travelling. Kialla Medical Clinic’s John Mackellar helps prepare many people for travelling overseas and said certain vaccinations were required for certain countries. ‘‘Vaccines are given to people to prevent them from becoming infected with a serious disease,’’ he said. Dr Mackellar said the first thing he did with a patient when they told him they were travelling overseas was find out if they were up-todate with their vaccinations. He then looks at what country they are travelling to and sees if they needed any vaccines such as typhoid fever or hepatitis A, which people do not receive when they are born. In some countries there may be outbreaks of certain illnesses. Dr Mackellar said Spain was experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak and Syria a polio outbreak. But these illnesses are not the only ones Australians should be wary of. Illnesses such as whooping cough are still widespread in Australia and Dr Mackellar said it was important for people to be aware tetanus and whooping cough needed to be updated. The tetanus vaccine lasts about 10 years, while whooping cough may last five to 10 years. Dr Mackellar said South Australia had reported more than 720 cases of whooping cough, which would be a lot less if adults were vaccinated against it. When it comes to updating vaccinations or seeing what vaccinations you may need, a good place to start is with your family doctor and general information about countries and vaccinations can also be found at Dr Mackeller said people could show their doctor a record of vaccinations they had received as a child — they may have a vaccination book.
Important: Checking what vaccinations you need to travel overseas is a necessary step when planning a trip.