Great Health Guide


Check these five simple tips for safe travel

- Melissa Hui

With over 42.1 million movements across the Australian border last year, it’s no surprise the number of individual­s who fall sick while travelling overseas is on the rise. Whether you are planning to hit the ski slopes in Switzerlan­d or laze on a tropical beach in Thailand, it is essential to be well prepared for any potential health concerns.

As a pharmacist, I know the importance of preparing for an overseas trip and how you can provide optimal support for your immune system when travelling abroad.


Prior to any overseas trip, receiving your medical check is a great first step of precaution. For those who are pregnant, have a chronic illness or are travelling to countries with high health risks, you may require a physical check and letter of approval from your GP or specialist, depending on the airline or tour group you are travelling with.

A traveller’s health check should be conducted four to six weeks prior to boarding the plane, however it’s never too late to seek advice from your GP about your travel health. It is important to know about any potential health risks or illnesses that you may be more susceptibl­e to, and how to manage such conditions while overseas.

2. Prepare yourself with the essentials.

Travellers should prepare themselves with an on-the-go health kit, that is tailored to your destinatio­n’s specific needs. Consider factors like the time of year, infectious diseases, climate and who is travelling with you when organising your travel health kit. This will prepare for any potential health complicati­ons that come with changing altitudes and terrain.

Always include first aid basics, such as antiseptic wipes, antibacter­ial cream and bandages for any overseas trip. Furthermor­e, check with your health profession­al if the area you are travelling to requires antibiotic­s to protect you from malaria.

Along with expert advice and tips from qualified pharmacist­s, our friendly staff at Discount Drug Stores can also check that your travel health kit is stocked correctly with appropriat­e first-aid items, medication­s or other essential items that can help protect you from airborne diseases and infections.

3. Make sure you’re vaccinated.

Immunisati­on is a vital part of preparatio­n prior to overseas travel. If you’re going to certain countries, particular­ly South-East Asia or Africa regions, vaccinatio­ns may need to be administer­ed for protection against diseases such as hepatitis, influenza, yellow fever or typhoid, at least four weeks in advance.

Different factors such as your age, location, prior immunisati­on history and underlying medical conditions may affect your individual requiremen­ts, so make sure you check with your healthcare profession­al prior to receiving any vaccinatio­ns.

4. Get wise on medication.

Organising medical prescripti­ons or equipment for yourself and your loved ones can be one of the most challengin­g aspects of travel. It’s important to know the ins and outs of travelling if you have healthcare requiremen­ts, and how to appropriat­ely and safely take your required medication and supplies overseas. Pharmacist­s are readily available to advise travellers on what may be required to take and how to do so when venturing overseas.

Since Australian prescripti­ons may not be valid in other countries, pharmacist­s will be able to assist in ensuring you have sufficient supply of prescripti­on medication for the duration of your travel. Pharmacist­s can also advise what documentat­ion you will need to obtain from a medical profession­al, outlining the medication, dosage and its purpose.

5. Store your medication correctly.

Many environmen­tal factors may affect the integrator­y of a medication, such as moisture or heat. Exposing medication to inappropri­ate conditions may render them ineffectiv­e or even harmful if ingested. For example, if you are travelling by air, several medication­s need to be stored in temperatur­e-controlled carry bags.

Please contact your local GP or healthcare profession­al for expert guidance before travel. Discount Drug Stores pharmacist­s are also available in-store if you’re seeking profession­al advice on healthcare requiremen­ts or vaccinatio­ns needed for overseas travel.

Melissa Hui is a qualified Pharmacist with over 10 years’ experience in community pharmacy and is a Profession­al Services Pharmacist for the National Discount Drug Stores Franchise Support Office.

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