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

Travel Health Journal

General Travel Health

Bathroom sign

The perfect bathroom read: Tips on managing Travellers’ Diarrhea

There’s nothing that plagues travellers more than diarrhea. Caused by ingesting bacteria, viruses, or protozoa, Travellers’ Diarrhea (TD) is one of the trickiest illnesses to avoid. Fortunately, most cases resolve after a few unpleasant days but in some, TD can lead to more serious health effects or conditions such as Postinfectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome (PI-IBS). In today’s blog, we’re looking at some of the ways you can reduce your risk and what to do if you get sick during your trip. What’s the risk? TD can affect up to 70% of travellers. It is most commonly caused by bacteria (such as Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Shigella spp., Salmonella spp., and others) transmitted via the fecal-oral route – when infected ...

Doctor consulting patient

What to expect at your travel clinic appointment

Congratulations – You booked your flight and you’re off on your next adventure! Not so fast. Before you leave, take a few simple steps to stay healthy on your trip. By taking the time to understand the health risks at your destination, you’ll keep those around you healthy too. If you’ve never been to a travel clinic, here’s what to expect. Before you go to a travel clinic Make an appointment with your family doctor. Your primary healthcare provider and pharmacist may be able to take care of all your travel health needs, including vaccinations. If your doctor doesn’t have expertise in travel health or you need Yellow Fever vaccination, they will refer you to a travel health specialist ...

Green car driving down a coastal road

Summer travel checklist

The kids are out of school, the sun is shining, and your bags are packed – the summer travel season is here! But before you hit the road, there are a few key things you and your family can do to ensure you have a healthy trip: Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date There is no better time than now to ensure your routine immunizations are up-to-date. Recently, vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly Measles, have been making a resurgence due to incomplete vaccination, vaccine refusal, gaps in vaccine coverage, and waning immunity. Measles outbreaks continue to affect many destinations around the world, including many US states, Canadian provinces, and countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. If you are unsure about you ...

Glacier and blue sky

Travel and climate change: How to stay healthy and be responsible

Did you know that as travellers, we are having significant impact on climate change? Global tourism accounts for a staggering 8% of all carbon emissions. This is four times higher than originally thought and accounts for the energy needed to support the tourism industry and related goods and services. The global tourism industry is projected to continue growing, but without a commitment to sustainable growth and reduced emissions, the effects of climate change will continue to take hold. To travel as a tourist is a privilege and we owe it to the people and places we visit to be respectful and conscious of our impact. Together, we need to commit to more sustainable forms of travel. Here are five ...

Country flags on wall

No one left behind: Supporting migrant health

When IAMAT was established in 1960, it was with a strong spirit of global community and a desire to live in a world where healthcare is accessible to all, no matter where or who you are. In honour of World Health Day, we take a look at migrant health, the barriers migrants face when accessing healthcare, and how universal coverage can make a difference. Migrant populations often arrive at their destination healthier than the native-born population, but they can face a range of health concerns that go unmet.  Universal healthcare – having access to quality healthcare regardless of your ability to pay – is an opportunity to ensure that everyone, including travellers and migrants, get the medical care they ...

Student in library

What to do and where to go? A doctor’s advice for students abroad

Imagine: You’re a student, excited to study abroad. You arrive in your new home away from home, ready for a semester of learning and exploring. New people, new places, new culture – but something isn’t right, you don’t feel well. Alone in a new place, you think, “my symptoms aren’t very serious, I don’t need a doctor”. But your condition is getting worse, and you don’t speak the language or know where to go. For a 20-year-old student from San Francisco, her stay in Rome took an unexpected turn last year when she began to experience symptoms of cough, tiredness, and difficulty swallowing. All the signs pointed towards a common cold, but she was actually suffering from a rare ...

Seated couple at sunset

Sexual health and travel: 5 things to know

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a holiday romance – but while the sand, sea, and sun set the mood, a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) can quickly ruin it. Many travellers have sexual intercourse with a new partner while away from home.  However, approximately 50% of people who engage in new sexual relationships abroad inconsistently use condoms.  As a result, a large number of STIs occur in returning travellers. Wherever you go, sexual health awareness should be an important component of your pre-trip planning to protect your health and the health of your prospective partners. In celebration of Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, we’re highlighting five important things every traveller should know about sexual ...

View from airplane window

True or false? The facts on airplane air, Yellow Fever, insurance, and street food

In this edition of True or false?, we take a closer look at myths about airplane air, Yellow Fever certificates, travel health insurance, and street food. Myth #1: “Breathing airplane air makes you sick.” A common misconception is that if one passenger on an airplane has an illness, then everyone else on the plane will get sick. These fears can be propelled by news stories such this one, when a flight carrying over 500 people was quarantined in New York due to sick passengers on board. The culprit of the illness, which hospitalized 11, was determined to be the flu. Is aircraft air to blame? Airplane cabins are confined spaces that may appear to be the perfect breeding ground ...

Cat bites and motorcycle crashes: Things I wish I knew before my trip

My name is Jacqueline and I’m a Research Assistant Intern at IAMAT in Toronto. I’m currently completing a post-graduate certificate at Centennial College in International Development, and hope to go on to work in the area of healthcare development around the world. My interest in healthcare was piqued during a recent 3 month trip through Southeast Asia, where I was exposed first-hand to some of the challenges that come with seeking health services abroad. About two weeks into my trip, I crashed the rental motorbike I had been riding into a rusted barbed wire fence. I was lucky to not have broken any bones or have sustained any serious injuries, but I did cut myself deeply on my legs ...

One Health: An introduction for travellers

What does “health” mean to you? Maybe it means getting vaccinated, having access to medical care, or staying in good physical shape. But what if “health” included the world around us too? One Health is a concept that supports the interconnection between the health of the environment, animals, and humans. It’s often defined as a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach that involves public health practitioners, scientists, veterinarians, and policymakers working together locally, regionally, and globally to improve health. In celebration of One Health Day this November 3rd, we take a look at the relationship between travel health and the One Health movement. Why is One Health important? A One Health approach considers the complexity and interconnectedness of global and environmental ...