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

Travel Health Journal

Healthy Travel

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

prevent DVT on airplanes

How to prevent DVT during air travel

With some airlines planning to reduce seat size even further, the topic of cramped cabin space and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has been popping up a lot recently. Studies haven’t shown a connection between seat size and DVT risk, but awareness of DVT is important for anyone planning a long-haul trip. Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism DVT is a condition where blood clots develop in the deep veins, usually in the legs. These clots can cause localized pain, redness, swelling, and be warm to the touch, but you may not have any symptoms. DVT becomes dangerous when a piece of clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, causing a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) which can be life-threatening. Pulmonary ...

travel while pregnant photo by Gosia Lachucik

How to Travel Comfortably While Pregnant

By Jan Rydfors MD, Co-Creator of Pregnancy Companion: The Obstetrician’s Mobile Guide to Pregnancy Traveling can be especially stressful for pregnant women with the breaking of normal routines. As a busy obstetrician in Silicon Valley for over 20 years, my patients have asked me thousands of travel related questions. Below are five tips to help mommies-to-be get the most out of their trip. Hydration. Remember that hydration is extra important when you’re pregnant as more water evaporates from your skin during pregnancy, especially if traveling during the summer as heat will enhance that fluid loss. Try to drink at least 10 eight-ounce glasses of fluid every day and even more on hot days. Sun. It feels good and getting ...

Two chairs under a thatch umbrella on a beach

10 sun protection tips for travellers

Protecting yourself from sun exposure is important year-round. Whether you’re headed to the beach or the ski hill, don’t forget about sunscreen and sunglasses. Here are our top 10 tips for sun protection, wherever you’re travelling this winter. 10 sun protection tips for travellers Wear sunscreen… Sun damage can occur with as little as 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure and sun exposure occurs even on cloudy days. Fifteen minutes before going outdoors, generously apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreen with SPF 30 is recommended for individuals who work outdoors or who spend much of their time outdoors. …and reapply often. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating heavily. Know ...