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

Travel Health Journal

General Travel Health

Child playing in the ocean. Photo by Leo Rivas, Unsplash.

March Break checklist: Tips for a great family trip

March break is right around the corner! We’ve collected a few of our favourite travel tips to help you plan a safe and healthy family trip. Whether you’re exploring castles in Europe or cruising by coral beaches in the Caribbean, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and make sure your family is ready to travel. Your March Break checklist: The basics No matter what your destination, some travel health basics are always important! Immunizations: It’s not too late to make sure your immunizations are up to date. Book an appointment with your health provider to ensure that you and your family are good to go. Food and water safety: Knowing how to choose safe food and ...

Hand holding a cocktail on a beach. Photo by Ed Gregory, Stokpic.

Travel and alcohol use: Know your limitations

Having a glass of wine or two can be an enjoyable way to socialize and relax, but there can be unforeseen risks to drinking while you travel. Consuming alcohol can increase your exposure to health risks, but it can also disqualify your claim to travel health insurance coverage. Travellers often learn too late that alcohol-related accidents or illnesses are not covered by their insurance policy. Knowing the limitations of your insurance and making smart choices can help you stay safe during your trip. Insurance and alcohol use: Know your limits Many travel health insurance policies include an alcohol exclusion clause. However, the clarity of the clause will depend on the insurer and the specific policy. Some policies define the ...

Person doing yoga on a wooden walkway. Photo by Marion Michele, Unsplash.

Preparing for your wellness retreat

Wellness retreats are becoming a popular way to travel and focus on personal health and wellbeing. Offering both escape and adventure, retreats are increasingly taking place in tropical and secluded locations around the world. Although wellness retreats are intended to improve your wellbeing, health risks are still present and can quickly derail your experience. Knowing the risks and being prepared can ensure you have a fulfilling and enjoyable trip. Wellness and tourism Wellness can be defined as an active process of growing one’s physical, mental, and social health. With more and more of us managing stress and living with chronic health conditions, interest in wellness has grown rapidly. This has led to an extensive wellness economy that offers products ...

Cover of the book "Healthy Travel: a pocket guide for seniors"

Healthy Travel: a pocket guide for seniors

Travel is exciting, inspiring, and can even be life-changing. As we age, we become less resilient to health risks and infections – and more likely to be managing a chronic condition – but this shouldn’t prevent us from seeing the world. A handbook for older travellers Our new guide, Healthy Travel: a pocket guide for seniors, provides practical advice tailored to the needs of older travellers. It covers a range of topics including vaccinations, accessibility and mobility, travel stress, and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, aches and pains, and cardiovascular disease. Healthy Travel was published in collaboration with the South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM). Book details, the table of contents, and a sample can be found ...

Two hands holding a pill bottle and red pills. Photo by TheDigitalWay, Pixabay.

In the news: Finding safe medicines and avoiding fakes

This article is part of our regular travel and global health news round-up. Finding safe medicines abroad is a commonly-overlooked part of trip planning. Whether you take prescription medication or need over-the-counter medicine to treat an unexpected illness, it’s important to be aware of how to find safe, good quality medication when you’re travelling. Travel and safe medicines We were saddened by the news of two young travellers who died in Cambodia last month. The travellers were ill and had gone to a pharmacy for medication but were later found unresponsive in their hostel room. Their deaths are currently being investigated. Our thoughts are with their families. In a CBC News article about this case, Dr. Pierre Plourde of ...

Open door with red light. Photo by Mali Maeder.

Implications of Sexual Tourism

Within the last 20 years, the number of international travellers has more than doubled and is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030. The growth of the travel and tourism industry has many positive outcomes for individuals and their communities, but it can also increase risks among vulnerable populations, including women and children. A recent global study found that the rapid expansion of the travel industry has coincided with significant growth in sexual tourism, a pervasive form of exploitation that occurs around the world. Sexual tourism, particularly the kind that targets children, represents the unseemly underbelly of the travel industry. As global citizens and responsible travellers, we can help end this practice. What is sexual tourism? The term “sexual ...

Person standing on a beach in a storm. Photo by Witch Kiki, Unsplash.

In the news: Extreme weather

This article is part of our monthly travel and global health news round-up. Here at IAMAT, our main focus is on travel health and not specifically on safety when abroad (there are many organizations and government departments that provide useful travel safety information). However, the two often overlap, and nowhere is this more evident than during extreme weather at popular travel destinations. Flooding, hurricanes, heat waves, and other weather events can have sudden and dramatic impacts on the health and safety of travellers and local people. Hurricanes and flooding Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria battered the Caribbean and the southern United States in September. Some locations suffered minimal damage and were ready to host travellers again within a week or ...

Sea turtle swimming through a reef. Photo by Scott Ruzzene, Unsplash.

In the news: Coral reefs and sunscreen, toilets, and accessible travel

This article is part of our monthly travel and global health news round-up. This month we look at some of the big questions in responsible travel: Why are coral reefs dying? How do toilets and sanitation affect me and the communities I visit? We also look at two facets of accessible travel: A step by step guide to travelling with MS and one expert’s thoughts on why accessible travel is so rewarding, despite its challenges. In the news this month 1. Is Your Sunscreen Poisoning the Ocean? The New York Times It’s well known that protecting yourself from sun exposure helps to prevent sun damage that can lead to skin cancer and other illnesses. Sunscreen is one of the main ...

Boat on the Amazon River. Photo by Kepler Web, FreeImages.

The Amazon: Staying well on your river cruise

River cruising in the rainforest The Amazon basin is a vast region that spans 9 countries. Travellers visit the region for its incredible biodiversity and the chance to experience wildlife and the rainforest firsthand. There’s no doubt about the amazing flora and fauna in the Amazon, but the confined spaces of a cruise ship and infections transmitted by insects, animals, and microorganisms can be a risk to your health. Here’s how to stay well as you explore. Staying healthy in the Amazon Most Amazon cruises begin in the city of Manaus, Brazil or Iquitos, Peru. In the Amazon region, the extent of some diseases (such as Schistosomiasis and Chagas) remains unknown. Luckily, you don’t have to leave your health ...

Blood glucose meter and supplies. Photo by Steve Buissinne, Pixabay.

First time travelling with diabetes?

Written with information from IAMAT’s new pocket guide for senior travellers by Claire Westmacott (to be published in October 2017). Travelling with diabetes Managing diabetes during travel may seem daunting, but there are many resources to help you plan a healthy trip. Diabetes management (especially insulin dosage) is highly individual, so it’s essential that you consult your health practitioner before you travel. Here are some things to consider when planning your next trip. Before you go Book an appointment with your health practitioner to discuss managing your diabetes during your trip. Plan to bring enough insulin, medication, and supplies for the full duration of your trip, including extra in case they get stolen or lost. If you use insulin, ...

Travel Health Journal