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

Travel Health Journal

Travel Health Risks

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 ...

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 ...

A photo of the book 'Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid', by William Forgey.

Wilderness First Aid: The Basics

This post was written with information from Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid, by William W. Forgey, MD. The new edition of this guide includes updated wilderness first aid techniques, photos, and illustrations to help you identify and treat injuries. Easy to read and simple to follow, the book is both an introduction to wilderness first aid and a reference for those with more experience. A message from Dr. Forgey It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to work with IAMAT as a volunteer Board member for many years. Early in my travel medicine and wilderness medicine career I realized the importance of access to, and the value of, the IAMAT disease information risk database. The best approach to ...

Graph showing the climate in Dubrovnik.

Climate data at your fingertips

We’re excited to reveal our new interactive climate charts! With city-level data on monthly high and low temperatures, humidity, and precipitation, you have more information at your fingertips when planning your next trip. The charts are conveniently integrated into our Country Health Advice. The data comes from our popular original 24 World Climate and Food Safety Charts, which we collected from weather stations, government agencies, and embassies around the world. Monthly averages are calculated based on 30 years of data. Thanks to the fantastic volunteers who helped with the data management and visualization of this project! Climate and health Being prepared for the climate at your destination affects more than just your wardrobe. Dryness and humidity affect skin and ...

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 ...

A pile of tires. Photo by FreeImages.com/RonalSchuster

Dengue: Innovative solutions to a global health issue

Compared to other diseases whose flare-ups have captivated the media, Dengue is a slow burn. In 1970, only 9 countries experienced severe epidemics of Dengue, but today the virus circulates continuously (endemic) in over 100 countries – including parts of Africa, the Americas, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific. Mild cases often go unnoticed or unreported, so it’s difficult to estimate the number of people affected, but one study suggests that 390 million infections occur each year. The Dengue virus Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by daytime biting female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Many people who are infected are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have any symptoms, while others have flu-like symptoms with fever, rash, ...

Prevention of snake-bite in travellers

This guest post was written by Professor David A. Warrell, who is currently International Director (Hans Sloane Fellow), Royal College of Physicians, London and Emeritus Professor of Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, UK. Professor Warrell was the 2015 ASTMH Marcolongo Lecturer. Threat of snake-bite to indigenous populations Most parts of the world are inhabited by venomous snakes. Snake-bites are a risk to rural inhabitants whose agricultural and hunting activities expose them and their children to this primeval environmental and occupational disease. Snake-bite is an important cause of death and disability in West Africa, Southeast Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Papua New Guinea, and the Amazonian region. There is good evidence that in India there are 46,000 and in Bangladesh 6,000 ...

Piotr Młynarczyk travel health basics

Travel Health Basics: Before You Go

Planning a healthy trip Nobody wants to think about getting sick abroad when they could be scoping out the best sights to see. However, being informed about health risks at your destination and learning what you can do to avoid them are key to planning a memorable trip. Travel health is about prevention and common sense. Be aware of health issues that may arise and take appropriate measures to prevent illnesses and injuries when you’re travelling, not only for your own well-being, but for the people and communities you encounter during your trip. The tips below will help you determine how far in advance you need to prepare, which immunizations and medications you’ll need, and why other travellers may ...

Malaria map 2015

From DEET to doxy: Malaria information for travellers

In time for World Malaria Day, we’ve just published our 2015 editions of the World Malaria Risk Chart and How to Protect Yourself Against Malaria. Not sure if you’re going to a country with malaria? The World Malaria Risk Chart provides detailed descriptions of malaria areas around the world and drug choices for malaria prevention, including information on the maximum altitude that malaria parasites are found, the main mosquito vectors, and the incidence of Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly form of the 5 malaria parasites to cause illness in humans. Notable changes this year – Argentina, Costa Rica, Egypt, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, and Sri Lanka no longer report malaria cases. How to Protect Yourself Against Malaria discusses the behaviour and ...

5 Must-Read Articles on Climate Change and Infectious Diseases

Ever wonder how climate change impacts you as a traveller? Delays and unexpected costs related to extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, and elevated air pollution levels are some of the things you may experience during your travels. The impact of climate change on our health extends beyond respiratory illnesses, increased heat strokes, and water shortages. Epidemiologists and evolutionary biologists have been sounding the alarm on the rise of infectious diseases for a long time.  In recent years we’ve seen a spike in vector-borne diseases which are also spreading to new regions. Here are a few that we’ve been tracking: Appearance of Chikungunya in the Caribbean Locally acquired Dengue in southern Florida, southern France, Italy, Portugal, and Japan West ...

Travel Health Journal