IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel Health Journal

Travellers walking through an airport with suitcases. Photo by Negative Space, Pexels.

Travelling with anxiety: Coping on-the-go

Wherever you go, it’s important to prepare for the effects of travel on your mental well-being. In honour of Mental Health Month we have updated our Travel and Mental Health Series to provide you with advice for a healthy and safe trip. Topics include travel and depression, substance use, anxiety, psychosis and travel stress. Access the full series here. Travel is an exciting opportunity to explore new places, people, and activities. However, being away from familiar surroundings and dealing with change can be challenging for some travellers; feelings of anxiety can reoccur or emerge for the first time. Anxiety disorders are manageable and if you prepare in advance and are actively coping with your anxiety, you can travel safely ...

Around the world: Tick-borne diseases

Ticks on the move Hiking and camping are popular activities for travellers, but make sure you’re prepared to fend off ticks before you go. Ticks are tiny arachnids that feed on blood. They’re often associated with hiking and camping in forested areas, but ticks infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme Disease have been found in city parks in Europe and North America. Thanks to climate change and urban sprawl, ticks are coming into closer contact with humans. Scientists hope that more research on ticks will help limit the spread of tick-borne illnesses (like this research on the black-legged tick’s immune system and this project on how mice contribute to the spread of Lyme in the United States). When ...

Travel Health Planner button with airplane

New: Try our Travel Health Planner!

Simplify trip planning Planning a healthy trip can be complicated. From vaccines to health risks, being informed can be time-consuming – and it only becomes more complex when you’re planning a multi-country trip. (Especially when it comes to Yellow Fever!) That’s why we are so excited to share the new Travel Health Planner for IAMAT members. Introducing the Travel Health Planner The Travel Health Planner is a tool to help you plan a healthy trip. It provides health advice and vaccination recommendations based on your itinerary. Recommendations are presented in a simple table, followed by detailed information for each country. You can add as many countries as you like to your Planner. The Planner takes into account the countries ...

Meet Claire, our new Health Writer and Research Specialist.

Meet Claire: Hiker, writer, and public health specialist

We are excited to welcome Claire Westmacott to our team! Claire brings expertise in public health and a wealth of travel experience to IAMAT. As our new Health Writer and Research Specialist, Claire researches, writes, and updates our travel health resources, including the Country Health Advice database and eLibrary. She is also working on a brand new guide for older travellers that will be published later this year. (Stay tuned for updates on the guide!) We caught up with Claire to learn more about her perspectives on travel and what drew her to global health. Where did you grow up? I was born in Oxford, England, but largely grew up in Waterloo, Ontario. Where did you go to school? ...

Senior travellers in an airport

Tips for older travellers: Heart disease

This post is part of a series for older travellers. Read Tips for older travellers: Reducing travel stress. Travelling with heart disease Cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, heart failure, and stroke can affect people of any age, but are more common among people over the age of 70. They are the leading causes of air evacuations, along with injuries and psychiatric emergencies. Here’s the good news: International travel is both possible and enjoyable if your heart condition is stable. As long as your condition is well-managed and your doctor clears you for travel, there’s no reason to avoid travelling. Note: Do not travel by air within 2 weeks of a heart attack. Even if you feel well, talk to ...

2016 IAMAT scholars Manuel and Weedgina

Travel medicine pioneers in Haiti and Costa Rica

A new frontier for IAMAT scholars We were thrilled to award the Stella & George Bryant Travel Medicine Scholarship to two deserving doctors in 2016. The scholarship enabled Weedgina St Vil of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti and Manuel Villalobos of San José, Costa Rica to take a travel medicine short course at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in November. Weedgina and Manuel also participated in clinical observation at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases travel clinic. We are grateful to Dr. Ron Behrens for organizing the course at LSHTM and making the clinical component possible. Meet Weedgina and Manuel Manuel and Weedgina are using what they learned to become travel medicine pioneers in Costa Rica and Haiti. Both ...

Air pollution

Air pollution update for travellers

Clearing the air Reports of air pollution in India and China have dominated the news. Photos show thick haze obscuring landmarks like the Taj Mahal and people wearing masks to protect themselves from the air they breathe. This month, air quality was so poor in Delhi, Lucknow, and other areas of northern India that schools and construction sites were closed and residents were urged to stay indoors. These articles highlight the serious effects of air pollution in megacities in Asia but air pollution occurs worldwide in both rural and urban areas. Over 80% of the world’s urban population is exposed to air pollution that exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended limits. What is air pollution? Outdoor air pollution is ...

Garlic. Photo by Lobo Studio Hamburg.

True or false? Common travel health myths

This year, we introduced a new feature on social media: the Myth of the Month. Every month, we share a travel health myth and set the record straight with current recommendations from travel health professionals. Have you heard any of these travel health myths? Myth #1: “Eating garlic prevents mosquito bites.” False! (But it may keep your travel companions away…) There is no scientific evidence that garlic prevents mosquito bites. The best insect bite protection comes from a combination of: Physical barriers: Wearing breathable, light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing. Chemical protection: Using insect repellent containing 20-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin. Bed nets: Sleeping or resting under a bed net in areas where there is a risk of Malaria, Chagas or other ...

A photo of the book 'Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid', by William Forgey.

Wilderness First Aid: The Basics

This post was written with information from Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid, by William W. Forgey, MD. The new edition of this guide includes updated wilderness first aid techniques, photos, and illustrations to help you identify and treat injuries. Easy to read and simple to follow, the book is both an introduction to wilderness first aid and a reference for those with more experience. A message from Dr. Forgey It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to work with IAMAT as a volunteer Board member for many years. Early in my travel medicine and wilderness medicine career I realized the importance of access to, and the value of, the IAMAT disease information risk database. The best approach to ...

Girl with a book. Photo by Poodar Chu, Unsplash.

What we’re reading: The Chickens Fight Back

The kids are back in school and we’re also hitting the books! Some of our staff are reading The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases that Jump from Animals to Humans. This fascinating read is by David Waltner-Toews, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the University of Guelph specializing in zoonotic diseases. The Chickens Fight Back shows us our world from a different angle – how people co-exist with animals and infectious diseases. Zoonoses in the 21st century Zoonoses are diseases that are transmitted between animals and humans. (Animals can also get diseases from humans, as biological anthropologist Michael Muehlenbein mentions in our Ecotourism tipsheet). Some zoonotic diseases are transmitted directly from animals to humans (like Rabies) while ...

Travel Health Journal