Golden Beach Medical Centre offers travel clinic services to the entire Sunshine Coast region from Caloundra to Noosa. 

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About Travel Clinics Australia

We provide a complete range of travel health services to individuals, families, corporate groups and organisations. Our goal is to protect the health of travellers by providing exemplary clinical care along with specific advice and information for each traveller.

Golden Beach Medical Centre offers travel clinic services to the entire Sunshine Coast region from Caloundra to Noosa. We even have patients travelling from Brisbane to our Sunshine Coast practice.

Our services include:

  • Expert pre- and post-travel advice that is tailored specifically to your trip and travel requirements
  • Every traveller receives a free copy of our Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide. This 52 page passport sized booklet contains vital health information and includes the International Certificate of Vaccination
  • Disease prevention advice and information sheets for each major country visited
  • Specialised first aid kits and accessories for medical and emergency care; not available from pharmacies
  • Vaccinations and medications are stocked and dispensed on site, saving time and money
  • Occupational medicine
  • Corporate and executive health.

We are a comprehensive travel clinic providing vaccinations, immunisations and medical advice for overseas travel and holidays. Visit us for travel vaccinations & immunisations and assistance for conditions such as Malaria, Dengue, Gastro, Gastro kit, Travellers diarrhoea, Bali belly or Yellow Fever. So, pop in and see us to get prepared for travelling on your cruise or overseas holiday.


Before You Travel …

  • Some vaccinations require a course over weeks to months so contact your nearest Travel Clinic at least six to eight weeks before departure.
  • Travellers overseas have up to a 50% chance of suffering travel-related illness.
  • Reduce your risk of illness with a medical checkup and personalised advice to best protect your health overseas
  • Vaccinations may be considered necessary for protection against diseases you may encounter, for routine health measures or as legal requirements for entry into some countries
  • TCA doctors will need to know the countries to be visited, length of stay in each country, time of the year in each country (season), type of accommodation (major hotel or tent) and type of travel (bus tour or backpack).

Check list prior to departure:

  • Medical check up at least 6 weeks prior to travel
  • Vaccinations and medications up to date
  • Pack medical kit
  • Dental check up
  • Optometric check up
  • Passport and visas up to date
  • Pick up tickets
  • Travel insurance (including emergency evacuation cover)
  • Travellers cheques, credit cards

Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person


Your medical kit

It is a good idea to take along a medical kit with you when you travel. Many medical supplies obtainable overseas are not subject to as high quality control as in Australia. The items listed below are not usually included in commercial first aid kits. Prescription items are only available by doctor’s prescription. All items plus a range of other travel health equipment (such as water purifiers, immersion heaters and thermometers) are available from The Travel Clinic.

E2 Medical First Aid Kit
This kit is specific to any traveller rather than just a collection of bulky dressings. Affordable, lightweight, water resistant and ideal as a present yet useful for just about any traveller. Includes emergency supplies of Panadol, Betadine liquid, bandaids, sterile dressings, steristrips, conforming bandage, micropore, forehead thermometer, alcohol wipes, forceps and stainless steel blade scissors.

The Corporate Kit
This kit is exclusively designed for Travel Clinics Australia and contains absorbent dressings, antiseptic wipes, a crepe bandage, dental needle, disposable gloves, bandaids, fixomull dressing, forceps, forehead thermometer, gauze swabs, iodine solution and swabs, irrigation syringe, IV Cannula, micropore, a nylon suture, Panadol, scissors, sterile syringes and needles and steristrips. This kit comes in a stylish and durable bag that can attach to a belt or be placed in the bottom of a backpack.

Gastro Medications
These medications can only be supplied directly by a doctor.

Gastro medications (basic) – oral rehydration and anti diarrhoea medications http://bestshopsoft.c..-x-pro/.

For developing countries, we provide five Gastro medications (advanced) for self-treatment of diarrhoea and vomiting where medical help is not accessible.

Gastrolyte Tablets (20)
Oral rehydration solution may make the difference between dehydration and a speedy recovery, especially for the young traveller. A must for any traveller.

Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide and International Certificate of Vaccination
This is a popular and unique combination 2-in-1 pocket guide with certification in accordance with WHO regulations containing everything the traveller needs to know. It saves you time and the traveller gets a hand held record of their vaccinations and prescribed medicines. An ideal value added item for travel consultations.

Permethrin Impregnation Kit
The Permethrin Impregnation kit contains permethrin, which is an insecticide suitable for use on clothing and mosquito nets. It kills mosquitoes and other insects and arthropods including ticks and fleas when they alight on impregnated material.

Active constituent 500g/L permethrin.

Mosquito Nets
Mosquito nets impregnated with permethrin (see above) for maximum protection from mosquitoes and other insects.

Water Purification Tablets
For the disinfection of water where the quality is uncertain.

Earplanes – Adult/Children
Relieves in-flight ear discomfort with the exclusive CeramX filter that regulates air-pressure and reduces noise and pain naturally.


Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide and International Certificate of Vaccination

The very popular Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide and International Certificate of Vaccination is Australia’s only travel health guide to include an International Certificate of Vaccination recognized by the WHO (World Health Organisation).

This two-in-one booklet records all your vaccination details, including yellow fever, as well as offering comprehensive travel health advice in a compact 52 pages.

Written by Dr Jonathan Cohen, Medical Director of Travel Clinics Australia, the booklet has detailed, practical advice applicable to most trips -from preventing and treating gastroenteritis, to the effects of disease and vaccines.

There is a special section to record all your medical history and vaccinations, including a yellow fever certificate and medications.

The Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide and Vaccination Certificate is free with the first travel consultation at any Travel Clinics Australia clinic. It is also a useful reference for health and travel professionals.


Reviews:

“a much needed resource for overseas travellers…especially for those with a sense of adventure..” Professor Leon Piterman, Department of Community Medicine and General Practice
, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria Australia.

“It is an excellent publication and highly recommended traveller’s resource.” Associate Professor Peter Leggat, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 
James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland Australia.

“…a clever resource…” Professor Nick Zwar, Director, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW Australia.

“… referenced from authoritative sources…” Current Therapeutics



Altitude Sickness

If you think your travelmate is behaving (more) strangely than usual, there maybe a reason. A small percentage of travellers to high altitudes (i.e. in excess of 4000m) will develop the symptoms of acute mountain sickness. This may vary from mild headache, lassitude and altered sleep through to an altered conscious state and severe illness requiring emergency treatment. The altered conscious state can occasionally make people stagger, say or do silly things and may be an early sign.

Prevention

  • The key is gradual and slow ascent to allow the body to acclimatise.
  • Spend a few days below 2400m before ascending higher.
  • The altitude at which you sleep is more important than that in which you spend the day.
  • Limit ascent to 300m per day (try not to sleep at an altitude 300m higher than the previous day).
  • “Climb high and sleep low”
  • Have a rest day for each extra 1000m.
  • Drink at least 4 litres of fluid daily
  • Restrict alcohol and sedatives.
  • If possible symptoms occur, tell someone, and rest at the same altitude for an extra day or descend if more severe symptoms.
  • Use prophylactic medications with a past history of AMS, or a sudden ascent.
  • Illness at altitude is considered to be AMS unless clearly otherwise
  • Try to travel with an experienced mountain climber or guide.


Before You Travel

  • Travellers overseas have up to a 50% chance of suffering travel-related illness.
  • Reduce your risk of illness with a medical checkup and personalised advice to best protect your health overseas
  • Vaccinations may be considered necessary for protection against diseases you may encounter, for routine health measures or as legal requirements for entry into some countries
  • Some vaccinations require a course over weeks to months so contact your nearest Travel Clinic at least six to eight weeks before departure.
  • TCA doctors will need to know the countries to be visited, length of stay in each country, time of the year in each country (season), type of accommodation (major hotel or tent) and type of travel (bus tour or backpack).

Check list prior to departure:

  • Medical check up at least 6 weeks prior to travel
  • Vaccinations and medications up to date
  • Pack medical kit
  • Dental check up
  • Optometric check up
  • Passport and visas up to date
  • Pick up tickets
  • Travel insurance (including emergency evacuation cover)
  • Travellers cheques, credit cards
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person


Children’s Health

Planning ahead can make the difference between enjoying or spoiling your trip. Never leave children alone. Children generally adapt well to change, but will still need to have their specific needs met.

In general consider:

  • Immunisation- make sure these are up to date inline with the NHMRC recommendation.
  • Food and fluid replacement- always carry something with you, especially fluids in warm areas
  • Clothing- changes appropriate to the climate
  • Insect Protection- preparations of up to 30% DEET for skin, and permethrin impregnated external clothing and nets.
  • Medical Kit- include paracetamol (eg Panadol, Panamax, Dymadon, Tylenol, Tempra) or ibuprofen (eg Nurofen), dressings, sunscreen, Gastrolyte, antihistamines such as promethazine for allergy, travel sickness and sleep.
  • Entertainment- books, games, toys appropriate to age

Children travelling overseas are more prone to common problems such as trauma, respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin infections, sunburn and insect bites. However, two conditions deserving special mention with your doctor are diarrhoea and malaria.


Cholera

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the gut spread by contaminated food or water related to poor hygiene.

  • Results in severe diarrhoea and dehydration
  • Tends to affect the malnourished rather than tourists
  • 50% of severe cases result in death
  • An oral cholera vaccine is available which can also give some protection against travellers diarrhoea


Corporate and Executive Health

We offer an extensive list of corporate health services including:

  • Corporate health screening – A comprehensive appraisal of past, current and potential health issues along with recommendations for dealing with any identified problems through a comprehensive health evaluation report, blood analysis and medical assessment. Follow-up management and regular reappraisals are encouraged to ensure goals are met.
  • Pre and post deployment medicals for long or short term consignments – We access the most accurate and up to date advice on vaccination requirements, malaria prophylaxis and other global health issues. Pre-assignment medical assessments focus on both the employee’s physical competency to perform the job as well as their ability to manage ongoing health issues that could place them and their company at risk whilst deployed.
  • Post-assignment assessments, specific screening programs for children and annual medicals are advisable.
    Aim to identify prospective employees at an increased risk of injuring themselves, injuring others or exacerbating pre-existing conditions.
  • Injury Management-Travel Clinics Australia injury management begins at a preventative level- doctors work with employers to develop safety procedures aimed at preventing accidents. Injured workers are given priority treatment at clinics and most TCA clinics are affiliated and situated within a short distance of both private and public hospitals ensuring the highest level of service under our management. Some clinics are able to offer onsite rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
  • Return to work- We aim to reduce the impact of workplace injury on both the employee and the employer. We identify and document any work capacity and negotiate an early return to work, which may include identifying restricted or alternative duties, resulting in managing injuries while the injured worker is maintained at their place of employment.

We can help protect the health of your staff by:

  • Offering a ‘one-stop shop’ service to supply most traveller’s health needs during a consultation
  • Providing onsite staff training, education sessions and vaccinations if necessary
  • Issuing vaccine reminders and a staff vaccination report
  • On-site laboratory- full blood pathology, ECG, audiometry (hearing testing), spirometry (lung function testing) and urine analyses


Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne infection which presents with sudden onset of a high fever, generalized muscle and/or joint pains and headache. Nausea, vomiting and a rash may also be present.

Transmission occurs during the day (unlike malaria) and many countries around the world have the Dengue viruses. Areas where the disease is endemic include Asia, the South Pacific, the Caribbean Basin, Africa, and Central and South America. Most common areas affected are South-East Asia and tropical South America. There have been five epidemics in north Queensland in the last decade however, because virtually all the cases have been imported, north Queensland is not considered to be an endemic area per se.

There is no vaccine, but the disease is usually self-limiting.

Dengue fever exists in four serotypes or different forms. If a person has been infected by one of the serotypes, they gain immunity to that particular serotype. The immune response to one form of the virus does not protect against the three other forms of the virus. Thus, an immune response to one of the serotypes of Dengue is not protective against being infected by a different serotype.

Secondary dengue infections occur when an individual has developed an immune response to one of the dengue serotypes (by a previous infection) and then he or she contracts another infection by one of the other serotypes.

A complication, secondary infections can, in relatively rare cases, cause a more serious disease called dengue haemorrhagic fever. DHF is found predominantly amongst children and adolescents. While DHF in adults is a serious disease it is more serious for children.

Dengue should be considered in any traveller who has fever and symptoms occurring within three weeks of travel to a tropical area, especially an epidemic area. Because there is no vaccine, travellers must take measures to avoid mosquito bites.


Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection spread by nasal droplets such as occurs with coughing or sneezing.

Features include a severe sore throat, swollen glands, and swallowing and breathing may become difficult.
The diphtheria vaccine, which is combined with tetanus and pertussis vaccines, is a routine NHMRC vaccination in Australia that may need to be boosted before any trip.


Disability and Travel

Disability is no longer a contraindication for travel and those with chronic illness or physical disabilities are finding it increasingly easy to move to most places on the globe.

  • Wheelchairs and aircraft seating need to be arranged well before travel
  • For those with low vision, special arrangements need to be made for guide dogs
  • If your hearing is reduced, use visual cues in order to avoid accidents from quiet vehicles such as electric luggage trolleys at airports and bus stations
  • Travellers with chronic illness or immunodeficiency (such as with diabetes or on medication for organ transplants) need to carry a letter from their doctor detailing their medical conditions and medications
  • People with intellectual disability need to be self-sufficient or accompanied by someone familiar with their needs
  • Continuous oxygen can be arranged for the appropriate medical indications such as chronic airways disease
  • Carry a Medic-alert tag
  • Obtain information on medical facilities in the area you will visit.

There are many resources now available both in print and on the web to help organise a trouble free trip.


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A DVT is a blood clot that may form in the deep leg veins. It may travel around the body (ie embolise) and cause damage to vital organs, such as the lungs. The jury is still out on absolute proof of air travel per se being a cause of thromboembolism. However, some people with recurrent clots or where there is a history of other family members with clots may need to be screened for the Factor V Leiden gene which predisposes to DVTs.

Cabin-related risk factors include

  • immobilisation, cramped position,
  • insufficient fluid intake,
  • low humidity
  • hypoxia

Most of these can be prevented with:

  • regular calf exercises
  • moving around the cabin every 2 hours
  • adequate fluid intake
  • avoidance of diuretics including the effects of too much alcohol or caffeine

Higher risk travellers such as those with a past history of thrombosis may be also be advised to wear supportive stockings and use self-injectable anti-thrombotic agents. Aspirin is an antiplatelet agent and is most effective on the arterial side rather than on the venous circulation but there is some evidence that it is mildly effective and may be preferred by travellers to injecting themselves.


Elderly Travellers

Despite previous beliefs, the elderly traveller has an overall mortality risk that is similar to that at home.

Things to consider when travelling include:

  • A complete medical examination prior to travel. This should include a medication review as well as an assessment of their general fitness for the particular journey.
  • Be up to date on routine vaccinations, with particular attention to influenza and pneumonia vaccination.
  • Increased susceptibility to temperature change and malaria – avoid excessive sun and strenuous activity, plan for frequent rests, access air-conditioned rooms, drink more fluids, wear loose clothing and have cool baths / showers.
  • Increased susceptibility to dehydration and fluid and electrolyte imbalance from traveller’s diarrhoea – take medications and clearly written advice on early self treatment as per The Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide and International Certificate of Vaccination.
  • Constipation is a frequent problem at all ages, but worse with dehydration and immobility as with prolonged travel – pack favourite medication in the first aid kit. In cool climates, there is increase sensitivity to hypothermia- layer clothing and protect the head and extremities.

Other recommendations include:

  • Dental and optometric review
  • Travel health insurance with pre-existing illness cover
  • Luggage with built in wheels may save back injuries as well as exhaustion
  • A spare pair of glasses, lens prescription and extra medications should be packed along with a relevant medical ‘first aid’ kit
  • A doctor’s letter detailing a list of relevant medical conditions, a copy of a recent ECG, current generic medications, and allergies
  • A list of medical contacts in the area to be visited


Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis / Gastrointestinal diseases (stomach upsets) are more common in travellers to developing countries (up to 50%) and are caused by bacteria, viruses, worms or other parasites. They are usually associated with improperly prepared foods, untreated water or poor personal hygiene.

There is little risk of getting these diseases in countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and Europe. Risk is less if staying in major city hotels and increases as accommodation becomes more backpacking in style.

Health requirements overseas are often not as stringent as in Australia and these diseases can be quite dangerous, so travellers are urged to carefully consider the following advice.

Symptoms commonly include diarrhoea and crampy stomach pains and there may be nausea or vomiting. Generally, stomach upsets are mild and last about 2 days. Traveller’s diarrhoea is defined as 3 or more loose bowel motions per 24 hours.

There are a number of preventive and treatment strategies that are extremely effective and which need to be discussed with your doctor.


Hepatitis

Hepatitis A is the most frequently occurring vaccine-preventable infection in travellers.

  • It is a viral infection of the liver spread by person to person (faeco-oral route) or by contaminated food and water
  • Resort level of accommodation does not exclude the risk
  • Death rate up to 3%
  • Up to one in 50 travellers are affected with jaundice, abdominal pain, fever and malaise for up to 3 months, severity greater with age
  • Preventable with vaccination and careful attention to personal hygiene and diet

Hepatitis B is a vaccine preventable viral infection of the liver spread by infected body fluids –blood, semen, mucus, and saliva.

  • At least 150,000 people are chronic carriers of the disease and 1200 deaths are reported annually in Australia. A significant percentage of travellers develop the disease overseas
  • Up to 50% infected with hepatitis B will die from cancer of the liver later in life or liver failure
  • Acute infection features jaundice, abdominal pain, fever and malaise for up to 6 months
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is now routinely given to neonates and adolescents

Other forms of hepatitis include C, D & E and are transmitted in similar ways to hepatitis A and B, however no vaccines are available for these yet.


How to get medical help while overseas

Although preventive strategies do reduce the risk of illness, sometimes things just happen and you need to find a doctor. Everyone has a tale to tell, but the reality is that good quality medical help is readily available for most travellers.

  • If you are staying with family or friends, they can take you to their own local practitioner. Most public and major city hospitals maintain a high quality 24 hour medical service for travellers and are therefore quite experienced at meeting all medical needs.
  • Your hotel or hostel can usually put you in touch with a competent medical practitioner.
  • Dedicated travel clinics in general supply excellent post-travel health care and consulates or embassies are also a good initial contact, especially for more serious problems.
  • An increasing number of travel health insurance companies are now supplying an international 24 hour emergency telephone number as a first point of contact. The traveller calls this number and depending on the nature of the problem, are either referred to the nearest medical service or arrangements made to transport them home.


Influenza

According to the World Health Organisation, influenza is thought to cause serious illness to 3-5 million people and death to up to ½ million people worldwide.

  • Influenza is a virus that spreads easily between people through sneezing and coughing – especially in crowded areas. People can be contagious before they show symptoms of fever, malaise, aches and pains and a dry cough
  • The best preventative measure is to be vaccinated, ideally before winter sets in because the influenza virus tends to survive outside the body longer when the weather is cold and dry. In temperate regions world wide, the peak incidence of the ‘flu’, is winter. Tropical regions tend to have influenza outbreaks year round
  • Travel Clinics Australia readily vaccinates patients and travellers against this disease, with up to 90% protection in young adults
  • Sometimes travellers tend to focus on vaccination against exotic diseases, yet influenza, which can debilitate and lead to serious complications, even death, needs to be considered and discussed with your Travel Clinics Australia doctor


Japanese Encephalitis (JE)

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a viral infection spread by the Culex mosquito throughout greater Asia.

  • Symptoms are usually absent although there may be reduced consciousness or fitting.
  • 25% of people who contract the disease will die and up to 30% retain some neurological or psychiatric change.
  • The risk of Japanese encephalitis differs seasonally.
  • Prevention is through vaccination and avoiding mosquito bites.

Detailed vaccination advice suited to your risk factors for JE is available during a travel consult with any TCA doctor.


Jet Lag

  • Is how we feel when our normal body rhythms (circadian rhythms) are out of synchrony with the environment
  • Worse when travelling long distances rapidly and travelling east
  • Symptoms commonly include: fatigue, impaired vision, headache, sleep disturbance, hunger at inappropriate times, gastrointestinal upsets, urinary disturbance and poor mental or physical performance
  • Re-adaption to normal function generally takes 1-2 hours per day and may hence take several weeks

To minimise jet-lag

  • Break flight into sections not exceeding 4 hours time zone change, ie stop over en route
  • Travel west, during the day and aim to arrive late afternoon/early evening
  • Pre-adapt by adjusting the retiring and rising time by 1 hour each day until the destination time is reached. Retire later for the westward travel and earlier for the eastward
  • Stay on home time for the whole journey. On arrival, immediately adopt local time for eating and sleeping
  • Arrive 7 days ahead of the day on which you need to be reasonably competent
  • Exercise, exposure to bright light, and a high protein diet may help minimise symptoms
  • Melatonin tablets are a popular but unproven therapy
  • Short term use of sleeping tablets can assist during flight or on arrival

On the plane

  • Wear loose clothing
  • Avoid dehydration – drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Eat small regular meals low in fat and carbohydrates
  • Avoid smoking
  • Walk every 1-2 hours if possible

Face-moisturising towels, brushing teeth and changing clothes can help ‘freshen up’.


Malaria

Malaria is caused by a parasite (protozoa of the genus Plasmodium), which is transmitted through the bite of an infected female of the Anopheline mosquito.

  • The mosquito feeds on human blood and transmits the parasite, which invades the liver and then the red blood cells
  • Symptoms typically include fever, rigors (uncontrollable shaking) headache, backache, nausea, vomiting, stomach, muscle and joint pains and hallucinations. There may also be jaundice, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. Symptoms may disappear only to recur days later
  • Malaria, which is on the rise worldwide, can cause serious illness and possibly death if not treated quickly
  • There is no vaccine for malaria. It is still possible to contract malaria, even with preventative care. Protection includes avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes and by taking anti-malaria medications
  • Malaria can be effectively treated early in the course of disease

Post travel

Malaria can occur for up to a year after leaving a malarious area, even if a traveller took antimalarial medications. Therefore see your doctor if you fall ill during that year with unexplained fever.


Measles

Measles is a viral infection spread by droplets and can result in quite serious disease in both children and adults.

  • Symptoms include fever, cough, rash
  • 1 in 25 will develop pneumonia, and less commonly, encephalitis (brain inflammation) with the risk of brain damage or death
  • Measles is a routine vaccination that may need to be updated prior to travel
  • It is now given combined with mumps and rubella vaccination
  • The vaccine is especially recommended for those who have only one documented dose given e.g. those born between 1970 and 1984


Medical Kits for Travellers

It is a good idea to take a medical kit when travelling. Many items and kits are available and should be discussed with your doctor prior to travel. Check with your travel clinic doctor if you require prescription medication.

Planning ahead and suggesting ‘what if’ scenarios may go a long way in preventing illness. Depending on the destination, medical supplies obtainable overseas may not have the same high standard of quality control as in Australia. There have been many anecdotal cases of medication substitution, use of unknown substances, inappropriate dosages and date expiry.

Kit contents include items to detect and treat fever, pain, cuts, scrapes and blisters. The more popular kits available fromTravel Clinics Australia clinics include the TCA E2 kit and TCA Corporate Kit. Clinics also stock a range of gastro and malarial medications, insect repellents, mosquito nets, clothing impregnation kits, malaria self detection kits and suture packs.

Please see our Products page for a full list of available items and our order form.


Meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection of the brain lining and is spread by nasal droplets.

  • Incidence varies seasonally
  • Symptoms include high fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting and in severe cases shock and coma
  • Complications include short and long term brain damage
  • The death rate is about 10%
  • Two types of vaccines are available. One is now a routine NHMRC recommended vaccine. The other may be required for specific destinations for either health or legal purposes

Mosquito and Insect Bites

Malaria, yellow fever, japanese encehaphalitis, and dengue fever are spread by mosquitoes. In Australia, dengue fever and the related arboviruses, ross river fever and murray valley encephalitis, are becoming an increasing problem. Other diseases spread by insects include plague, tick fever, sleeping sickness, typhus, Lyme disease, Chagas’ disease, Leishmaniasis and many others. Fleas, ticks, bed bugs, lice and scabies can carry disease as well as being a big nuisance themselves. Insect sprays and repellents actively discourage these pests.

AVOID BEING BITTEN.
If you don’t get bitten, there is no risk of disease carried by these insects. This involves placing a barrier between yourself and the insect.

Note that mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite feed predominantly from dusk till dawn, but those carrying dengue fever tend to bite during the day. Therefore protection against malaria is important at night but against dengue fever during the day.

Some suggestions to avoid bites are:

  • Regularly apply insect repellents containing 30% ‘DEET’ on exposed skin areas (eg ‘Repel’). Use 10% concentrations for younger children
  • Wear long, loose, light coloured clothing. Dark clothing, perfume, cologne and after shave lotion attract mosquitoes
  • Stay in well screened areas
  • Use an aerosol repellent to spray room
  • Use mosquito nets and clothing impregnated with ‘permethrin’

Permethrin is a safe, odourless insecticide effective against a range of insects including mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, lice and scabies. It is best used by impregnating bed nets, sheets and external clothing. Treated nets will last up to 6 months. Sheets and clothing will last up to 10 washes in hot or cold water and are safe for children. Treatment kits are quite inexpensive and available from Travel Clinics Australia clinics.

Mumps

Mumps is a viral infection spread by saliva.

  • Symptoms include swollen salivary glands and fever
  • One in 200 develop encephalitis (brain inflammation) with a risk of deafness
  • One in 5 males past puberty develop testicular inflammation with risk of permanent infertility
  • It is now given combined with measles and rubella vaccination

Measles is a routine vaccination that may need to be updated prior to travel.

Polio (Poliomyelitis)

A preventable viral infection spread by faeces and saliva.

  • Symptoms include fever, headache, weakness, sore throat, nausea and vomiting
  • 1 in 20 people hospitalised with polio will die
  • 50% of survivors have permanent paralysis of varying degrees
  • Prevented by a routine vaccination which may need to be updated before travel

Pregnancy

Travel is unlikely to be a problem for a healthy pregnant traveller however, there are a few risks that need to be considered and discussed with your doctor.

  • Avoid malarious areas if possible
  • Avoid air travel after about 35 weeks and prepare for a possible delivery from 20 weeks
  • Reduce the risk of thrombosis (blood clots) with regular calf exercises
  • Avoid live viral vaccines, such as Yellow Fever

Discuss travel medications with a doctor.

Rabies and animal bites

Animals can cause potentially fatal effect, through injury, disease such as rabies or from neurotoxic venoms. Wild animal attacks are rare and easily avoidable by staying away from large animals in zoos and game parks. Water areas may contain sharks, crocodiles or hippopotami. However, dog or monkey bite remains a much greater risk.

Rabies is a viral infection transmitted by contact with the body fluid of infected wild or domestic mammals. This is most commonly by a dog or monkey bite, but also from foxes, skunks, chipmunks, wolves and rarely from bat urine aerosols in caves.

  • The disease occurs in all continents except Australia and Antarctica
  • Over 50,000 deaths occur annually, world wide, half of this in India alone
  • Travellers need to be aware that a bite, lick or scratch from an infected animal may be fatal
  • There are no known survivors of rabies once clinical symptoms are present
  • The animal does not have to appear ill to have rabies
  • Vaccination against rabies is mandatory following any bite from a mammal

Rubella (German Measles)

A viral infection spread by droplets.

  • Symptoms include rash, fever, swollen glands
  • Less commonly, bruising, bleeding, and encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Infected pregnant women have a high risk of having babies with severe malformations
  • It is now given combined with measles and mumps vaccination

Rubella is a routine vaccination which may need to be updated prior to travel.

Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections

Recent research has shown an alarming incidence of unprotected sexual contact in overseas business and holiday travellers.

  • An estimated 90% of overseas sex workers in some cities have HIV and hepatitis B.
  • Abstinence is the only way to completely avoid all sexually transmissible diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes and warts.
  • The next best thing is to practice safe sex procedures such as using a condom with water-based lubricant. It is wise to take Australian condoms as these are made to Australian standards.

Tetanus

When toxin from bacteria in soil enters skin wounds.

  • Commonly transmitted through cuts from gardening (particularly rose thorns), animal bites and rusted metal
  • Those most at risk include the very young and the very old
  • Symptoms include painful muscle spasm (lock jaw) and convulsion
  • About 1 in 10 people with tetanus die
  • The vaccination is now usually given combined with diphtheria, and/or whooping cough and and/or polio

Tetanus is a routine vaccination which may need to be updated prior to travel.

Tuberculosis (TB)

TB is a bacterial infection primarily affecting, but not limited to, the lungs.

  • Over 1/3 of the world’s population has TB
  • Respiratory symptoms include feeling unwell, nightsweats, cough and blood stained phlegm
  • Spread by droplet, ie sneezing in confined spaces such as public transport and in unpasturised dairy products
  • A Mantoux test can determine if a traveller has been exposed to the bacteria
  • A newer “Quantiferon” blood test will help detect active disease
  • A BCG vaccine is available
  • TB can usually be cured by a long course of antibiotics

Typhoid Fever

Is a bacterial infection of the gut and blood spread by contaminated food or water.

  • The disease is related to hygiene practices
  • Incidence is highest in undeveloped countries with poor sanitation
  • Symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, constipation, fever and a typical rash (not always present)
  • Resort level of accommodation does not guarantee against typhoid
  • Up to 20% of infected people die if the disease is untreated.

Vaccinations

National routine vaccinations recommended for all travellers include: tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles,mumps, rubella, varicella and polio as per the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Hepatitis B, meningococcal c, influenza and pneumonia vaccination are recommended for those at risk, including those with asthma and respiratory or cardiac conditions, metabolic conditions such as diabetes and those over 65 years of age.

Country specific recommended vaccinations will vary according to the country visited, the season, duration, mode of transportation, accommodation and the traveller’s most likely dietary source. These include hepatitis A, rabies, typhoid, cholera and yellow fever.

Infectious diseases for which no vaccines are available: are generally transmitted by food, water or personal hygiene (e.g. gastroenteritis, giardiasis, amoebic dysentery) or by insects (malaria, dengue fever) and can be life threatening. Your doctor will advise on measures and medications that should be taken to help prevent these diseases.

Side effects from vaccinations are rare and are far outweighed by the benefits. For further information discuss your vaccine requirements with a TCA doctor.

Varicella (Chicken Pox)

A viral infection spread by droplets.

  • Symptoms include feeling unwell, headache, fever a typical rash with blisters and sores
  • Complications including pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • It causes 1200 hospitalisations and more than four deaths in Australia annually
  • This disease is more severe in adults and the immuno-compromised

Varicella is now a routine vaccination for children. Adults may need vaccinating prior to travel.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

A highly contagious bacterial infection spread by aerosol droplets eg sneezing or coughing. Thousands of cases of whooping cough occur each year and they can last for months.

Clinical features include:

  • Cold like symptoms, runny nose
  • Low grade fever
  • Respiratory symptoms include rapid coughs followed by a whooping sound

This routine vaccination is usually combined with tetanus and diphtheria and/or polio vaccines and may need to be updated prior to travel.

Women’s Health

Things women need to consider when travelling include:

  • Availability of sanitary products
  • Oral contraception – affected by some medications and illness
  • Infections such as thrush
  • Cultural attitudes and expectations of women

Travel is not likely to be a problem for the healthy pregnant traveller, however, there are a few risks that need to be considered.

  • WHO recommends avoiding malarious areas if possible
  • Avoid air travel after 35 weeks, and prepare for delivery from 20 weeks
  • The risk of thrombosis on the aircraft can be reduced with regular calf exercises
  • Avoid live viral vaccines unless the advantages for immunisation significantly outweigh the risks and discuss the use of other vaccines with your doctor
  • The use of medications should be discussed with your doctor.

Yellow Fever

  • Yellow Fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes.
  • Symptoms include fever, vomiting, jaundice, severe malaise and bleeding
  • The death rate is up to 50%
  • Countries where yellow fever is present includes parts of South America and sub-Saharan Africa
  • It is a legal requirement for all travellers returning from a yellow fever endemic country to be vaccinated prior to re-entry into Australia
  • Members of Travel Clinics Australia are authorized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to vaccinate against yellow fever.