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

Travel Health Journal

Food and Water

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

water filters and drinking water

Drinking Water 102: Choosing the right method for your trip

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on water disinfection. Read Part 1, Drinking Water 101:  What’s in the Water? In the last post, we looked at the basics of water disinfection. This week, we’ll explore the key features of some water disinfection products for travellers and backcountry explorers. Factors to consider The water disinfection method you choose depends on the water quality at your destination, your budget, the size and weight of the product, how many people will be using it, its availability, and access to fuel or electricity. Water disinfection products for travellers* Filters Filters come in a variety of sizes and can be appropriate for many types of travel. They range from small hand pumps, water ...

water filters and drinking water

Drinking Water 101: What’s in the water?

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on water disinfection. Read Part 2, Drinking Water 102: Choosing the right method for your trip. In many parts of the world, the water isn’t safe to drink. Human waste from poor sanitation and chemicals like fertilizers are just two common sources of contamination. For many short-term travellers, bottled water seems like the easiest solution, but bottled water creates plastic waste which often isn’t recycled. Bottles can also be tampered with and refilled with unsafe water. For travellers to rural or remote areas, carrying a supply of drinking water may not be possible. So what can you do? One option is to treat your own water. In this post, we’ll take ...