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

Travel Health Journal

General Travel Health

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 ...

Black and white image of a dog looking at the viewer.

5 misconceptions about Rabies

Rabies is one of the most deadly infections known to humans. It’s also 100% preventable. Rabies has been recognized in humans since 2000 B.C. Despite its long history, it continues to cause approximately 59,000 deaths a year, mostly among children. The virus that causes Rabies is present around the world (with the exception of Antarctica) and all mammals are susceptible to infection. This World Rabies Day, find out the truth behind 5 common misconceptions so you can stay informed and help others stay safe. We take a look at why Rabies is still a concern, how travellers are at risk, and what you can do to be prepared. 1. Rabies is only transmitted by animal bites: FALSE. Rabies is ...

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 ...