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

Travel Health Journal

Medications

Assorted colourful pills on white background

Fighting back against antibiotic resistance

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance has reached “dangerously high” levels on a global scale. You’re probably familiar with the term “antibiotic resistance” – but what does it actually mean and how serious is it? In honor of Antibiotic Awareness Week we explore antibiotic resistance, its health and economic implications, as well as what travellers can do to prevent one of the greatest global health challenges we face today. What is antibiotic resistance and what is the scope of the problem? Antibiotics are widely used to treat and prevent bacterial infections, but over time, bacteria can develop resistance; most are killed off by the antimicrobial agent, but naturally resistant microorganisms survive and multiply into stronger strains. ...

Balloons in sky

Travelling with medications: A NEW guide

Are you travelling soon and currently taking prescription medication? Did you know that countries often place specific restrictions on the import of medications for personal use? If you are confused about how to travel with your prescription medication, you’re not alone. Travelling with medications is one of the most common concerns among travellers. Country regulations can be unclear and difficult to navigate, while penalties for not being in compliance can be severe. Many of us are confused about, or unaware of, these restrictions and how they are enforced. Even if you are in compliance with your destination’s restrictions, you can still run into issues with your medication during your trip. It can be a challenge to find prescription medication ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

Map of malaria risk areas

World Malaria Day 2016: Updates for travellers

Malaria updates for travellers What will you do to end Malaria? Today is World Malaria Day and we’ve updated our Malaria resources! Our World Malaria Risk Chart outlines risk areas around the world, including locations affected by drug-resistant Malaria. The April 2016 edition provides more detail and additional notes about which areas are risk free and where risk is present. We’ve added additional detail for specific regions in Bhutan, Colombia, the Philippines, and Swaziland. The How To Protect Yourself Against Malaria whitepaper gives you an in-depth look at the Malaria parasite’s lifecycle, the behaviour of the Anopheles mosquito, insect bite prevention measures, and antimalarial drug recommendations. Fighting fake medications Fake antimalarial medications are a big problem in many countries ...