Is your holiday making you sick?
Counting down the days till your next vacay? Well, you don’t want the amazing couple of weeks ruined by falling ill.
Of the top 10 countries Aussies are travelling to, seven are considered at-risk of infectious diseases (and where vaccinations and other precautions are recommended). This includes Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, India, China, Singapore and Fiji. Eeek!
A 2015 report showed that 1 in 4 Aussies heading to these gorgeous but potentially dangerous destinations fell ill on their last trip, with 43% needing to seek medical assistance while overseas*. In order to not become a statistic, here are three ways you can avoid returning home with a holiday you’d rather forget.
Eating and drinking
Of those Aussies who got sick on their last trip, 49% believe they caught something from eating and drinking. It could be something as simple as your icy mai tai or Thai beef salad.
Contaminated food and water can cause nasty illnesses like Travellers’ diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid**. And it doesn’t matter how you choose to dine – whether you’re staying at a 5-star hotel or eating from a street cart, contaminated food and water doesn’t discriminate.
- Always ensure that food is served and cooked hot.
- Stick to bottled water only and avoid drinks with ice.
- Steer clear of salads with raw fruit and vegetables.
- Avoid raw or undercooked eggs, ice cream and unpasteurized dairy products.
- While a tempting part of the authentic Southeast Asian experience, be wary of food from street vendors. Some stalls don’t comply with safe and trustworthy health standards.
You’re on holiday so you’re obvs going to wearing your cutest summer dresses while doing some outdoor exploring. But it’s important to remember that bare skin not only exposes you to UV rays, but also mozzies. In many of our favourite exotic destinations, mosquitos carry more than just an itchy bite – they can transmit malaria, dengue fever, Yellow fever and the Zika virus.
Tip: Be sure to keep windows shut and take care to avoid insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing***. Zika can also be transmitted through sex, so wear a condom.
Thinking it won’t be you
We’re all guilty of thinking it won’t be us, either because we’ve visited that country a number of times, were born and raised there, or that we don’t have the time or money to get vaccinated. But unfortunately we’re not that indestructible, because there’s a 50% chance you may suffer from a travel-related illness*.
Tasha Nabila made this mistake, and spent her 18th birthday in an Indonesian hospital receiving multiple blood transfusions after she contracting both typhoid and dengue fever — at the same time. Check out her story.
Tip: Book an appointment with your GP six to eight weeks before you depart. Your GP might offer protective options on the spot, including some vaccines, or you may need a second appointment.
For more travel advice specific to at-risk destinations, go to vaccinehub.com.au.
*Survey developed by Sanofi Pasteur and conducted by Lonergan Research, May 2015, completed by 1,041 Australian travellers
**Center for Disease Control, Food and water precautions