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

Travel Health Journal

General Travel Health

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Travel Health Journal