News & Media

30 October 2018

Keeping your health in check while overseas

So, you’re planning an overseas trip. First things first, have you sorted your leave? Booked the flights and accommodation? Planned an itinerary of sorts? What about a visit to the doctor? Travel insurance? Immunisations?

There’s no doubt holidays are exciting. You get time off work, you usually get to explore somewhere new and most importantly, you get to relax. To ensure your holiday is as smooth-sailing as those international cruise ships you see on TV, don’t forget to keep your health needs in check.

We’ve asked one of our GPs, Dr Hieu Tran, for his advice.

Visit your GP

Keeping your health in check while overseas

Have a chat with your doctor at least one month before you head overseas to get a health check, find out what vaccinations you need, along with other preventative health measures you should be aware of.

Vaccinations offer decent protection against many diseases. The vaccinations you need will depend largely on where you’re travelling. We always recommend getting an influenza vaccination before you go on your trip.

It is worth noting travel vaccinations aren’t subsidised on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Top up your scripts, pack your medication

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If you take regular medications, it is best to take enough with you so you don’t run out while you’re overseas.

Visit your doctor for a new script and make sure this is filled before leaving. It’s also worth carrying a signed letter from your doctor with a list of all the medications you take, including both prescription and over-the-counter meds. The letter should also include any pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities you have.

In some countries, it is illegal to carry certain medications. Remember to double – even triple – check this before you head off.

Get insurance

We recommend you always organise travel insurance and know how to contact your insurers. Save their contact details in your phone and write them down on an emergency contact card, which you should carry with you at all times.

Before you leave, review your policy to know exactly what it covers, particularly with pre-existing medical conditions and medical emergencies.

What if you get sick overseas?

Keeping your health in check while overseas

It’s really tricky to know what to do if you get sick when overseas. We recommend doing what you’d normally do at home, but also be aware of where the local hospitals and GP clinics are. You should find out how to contact them, what emergency services are available nearby and whether your insurance policy covers travel to and treatment at certain hospitals or clinics.

Language can be an issue, so have someone with you who can help translate. If your illness is quite mild, visiting a GP is more appropriate. In more serious cases, call emergency services or visit the hospital.

Do some more research

Here’s a list of handy resources, which can give you more information and advice: