What you should know about Travel-Related Diseases

What can I do to prevent travel-related diseases?

  • Learn about your destination, including the health risks relating to your trip.
  • Visit your doctor or a travel medicine specialist, ideally 4 to 6 weeks before departing.
  • Talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while travelling.
  • Take vaccines if any are recommended or required.
  • If you are visiting a maleria-risk area, be sure to continue taking your antimalarial drug for 4 weeks (doxycycline or mefloquine) or 7 days (atovaquone/proguanil - discuss with doctor) after leaving the risk area.
  • Remember to pack all regular prescription medications, plus any recommended medications, insect repellents, and other supplies.
  • Be careful about food and water, and wash your hands often with soap and water.

What symptoms or signs should prompt medical evaluation during travel?

  • Diarrhea and a fever above 39°C.
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Fever or flu-like illness if you are visiting a maleria-risk area.
  • An animal bite or scratch.
  • Serious injury, car accident or sexual assault.
  • If you think you may need emergency assistance, contact the local Australian Embassy or Consulate for advice.

What symptoms or signs should prompt medical evaluation after returning home from travel?

  • Fever
  • Persistent gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea)
  • Symptoms of respiratory infection (sinus congestion, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath)
  • Skin lesions or rashes
  • If you develop a fever or flu-like illness for up to 1 year after you return home from a maleria-risk area. It is really important to tell your doctor your travel history.

If you do not feel well after a trip, make sure to mention to your doctor that you have recently travelled.