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

Travel Health Journal

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 ...

We're hiring. Join our team.

Join our team: We’re hiring a Health Writer and Research Specialist

We’re hiring It’s a new year and our team is growing! We’re seeking a Health Writer and Research Specialist to join our team in Toronto, Canada. This opportunity is for a health communicator with excellent writing skills and experience with medical literature. Join our small team and help make the world a healthier place to travel. Job Description: Health Writer and Research Specialist Purpose As IAMAT’s Health Writer and Research Specialist, you will develop and implement IAMAT’s travel health content strategy. You will also create resources, and enhance existing materials, for travellers to promote responsible travel through health – particularly helping travellers to plan a healthy trip, prevent injuries, and reduce the spread of infectious diseases in communities abroad ...

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 this year. 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 ...

Photo of jellyfish by Wopke, Pexels

Stings and bites: Preventing marine injuries

Nothing says ‘vacation’ quite like fun on the water. Beachcombing, swimming, snorkelling, diving, wading, and watersports are common activities that can bring you in contact with marine animals. Skin infections, bites, and stings resulting from contact with marine life are some of the most common injuries affecting travellers to island and coastal destinations.  By some estimates, up to 150 million jellyfish stings occur worldwide every year. When you’re in the water, you can prevent injuries by being informed about local marine life and water conditions. Stings, bites, and punctures from marine animals There are three types of injuries associated with marine animals: Contact toxins – stings caused by jellyfish, coral, sponges, and sea urchins Injected toxins – envenomation caused ...

Photo by Margaret Thompson

Tips for older travellers: Reducing travel stress

This post is the first part of a series for older travellers. Exploring the world and managing stress The world is the older traveller’s oyster. Travellers over the age of 60 already represent more than 12% of all international tourist arrivals and this number is expected to grow as the world’s population ages. By some estimates, older travellers could account for 16% by 2030.* If you’re an older traveller, you already know that you are in good (and diverse) company: We hear from older travellers planning adventure travel, hiking trips and expeditions, group tours, cruises, solo trips, round-the-world journeys, and long-term volunteer trips to remote areas. Managing travel stress is an important skill for any traveller, but it’s especially important ...

Travel Health Journal