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

Travel Health Journal

General Travel Health

Female malaria mosquito rests on a screen. Photo by Alexander Wild.

Malaria medication: your questions answered

World Mosquito Day is celebrated every year on August 20th to commemorate Sir Ronald Ross’ discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes (later identified from the genus Anopheles) transmit malaria to humans. Since Ross’ discovery over 120 years ago, we certainly know more about malaria and how to prevent it, but there’s still a long way to go. Malaria continues to be endemic (regularly found) in many countries and due to increases in international travel, particularly to tropical areas, the number of malaria infections in travellers has been increasing. Misconceptions about the severity of malaria, how to prevent it, and areas of risk can lead travellers to arrive at their destination inadequately prepared and unprotected. Malaria can be prevented by ...

Man sitting on a mountaintop with a backpack.

True or false? 5 travel health myths debunked

Reliable travel health information is becoming easier to find online, but it’s not uncommon to see inaccurate information on forums, blogs, and other sources travellers rely on for trip planning advice. In this edition of True or false? we’re debunking 5 myths about water filters, tanning, mosquito bite prevention, tick removal, and jellyfish stings. Myth #1: “When I use a water filter, my water will always be safe to drink.” Water filters remove large contaminants like dirt, bacteria, and protozoan cysts, but viruses can be small enough to pass through the pores of a filter into your drinking water. (It’s especially important to remove or inactivate viruses like Hepatitis A in populated areas where sanitation is poor or inconsistent.) If ...

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 ...

Map of Yellow Fever risk areas from IAMAT's World Immunization Chart (March 2018)

World Immunization Week: Yellow Fever updates and news

In celebration of World Immunization Week, we highlight the essential nature of vaccines by exploring some recent news and updates for the Yellow Fever vaccine. A combination of climate change, urbanization, and increases in international air travel have accelerated the global spread of many mosquito-borne viruses including Yellow Fever, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. No antiviral therapy exists for Yellow Fever, but the infection can be prevented with a vaccine. Despite this, a global vaccine shortage has made managing the disease a challenge. As responsible travellers, we have an important role to play in preventing the spread of Yellow Fever and many other vaccine-preventable diseases. Yellow Fever Yellow Fever is a viral infection transmitted to humans by daytime biting Aedes ...

Two hands with water. Photo by Tiburi, Pixabay.

Are you a water-responsible traveller?

Every year on March 22, the United Nations celebrates the importance of water through World Water Day. Clean water and access to safe water sources are essential for the health and growth of communities, but almost a third of the global population continues to lack access to safe drinking water. As the effects of climate change contribute to greater water instability, this year’s World Water Day theme, “Nature for Water”, focuses on solving water-related issues through nature-based interventions such as landscape restoration, sustainable agriculture, and water disinfection practices. To celebrate World Water Day, we ask and answer: How can we be more water-responsible travellers? Travel and water use Travel gives us the opportunity to explore the connections we share ...

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 ...

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 ...

Travel Health Journal