Preparation is key to prevent you from potential travel-related diseases abroad and will make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free. Fortunately, most travel-related diseases can be prevented through pre-departure preparation that includes some simple research to understand the health risks in the country you are travelling to, immunizations and safety precautions that you can learn before you depart to your travel destination.

Do research on the country

Do some research on the country you are planning to visit. Be sure to check:

  • Season of travel
  • Countries and regions that will be visited
  • Planned activities during travel
  • Place of residence
  • Vaccinations

Also, Safeture app users can stay updated via its weekly global diseases and health overview:

We believe up-to-date information on diseases is useful for Safeture app users. Therefore, we have added a weekly review of the global disease and health starting October 2018 to give crucial and compact disease information for Safeture app users as part of pre-departure preparation.

The overview covers:

  • Outbreaks and ongoing diseases across the globe
  • Recent number of cases reported
  • Link to external sources on signs, symptoms and treatment for a particular disease
  • General advice

Consult with your doctors on vaccinations and other medications

Ask yourself

It is vital to check your health before travelling. Question yourself. Are you having ongoing illnesses? Is your immune system weak? How long will you be travelling? What are the activities that you will be doing? What is your record of getting vaccinations? These questions may help to determine whether you need to be vaccinated or to have appropriate medications for your travel.

How soon should I book in my vaccinations?

See your general practitioner or travel doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip as vaccines take time to reach an effective state in the human body and some must be administered in a series over a period of days or even weeks. That will give you and your doctor the necessary time to administer that there are no adverse reactions.

What types of vaccines should I get?

Be sure to understand the differences between recommended and required vaccines.

Recommended travel vaccinations

These vaccines protect travellers from illnesses that are present in foreign parts of the world and to which traveller is likely not immune. These vary depending on your destination and the time of the year. Certain travel vaccines may be recommended before you travel including Typhoid fever, Malaria, Rabies, Cholera, Meningitis and Japanese Encephalitis.

Required travel vaccinations

These are required by International Health Regulations or by the local government including yellow fever, meningococcal disease and polio. Many countries where yellow fever is present will require you to have proof of vaccination before you allowed in and if you are heading elsewhere after travelling to a country where the disease is present, you will need to show proof of vaccination known as the international certificate of vaccination of prophylaxis (ICVP) before entry.

How long do they last?

Vaccinations only provide protection for a set period of time. Once the time has elapsed, you will need a booster if you plan on heading abroad again.

  • Polio: 10 years
  • Hepatitis A: Long term
  • Hepatitis B: 10 years
  • Japanese B Encephalitis: 1 year
  • Rabies: 1-2 years
  • Typhoid: 3 years
  • Yellow fever: 10 years

What other travel-related diseases or health problems that I need to know?

It is best to get consultations for precautions and medications from your doctor on other travel-related diseases that are common among travellers:

  • Other mosquito-borne diseases that do not have any vaccinations such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya virus and Zika virus caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
  • Food and water-borne diseases such as the famous traveller’s diarrhea acquired by ingesting contaminated food and water when you are travelling in areas where sanitation and personal hygiene are poor.
  • Risks of altitude sickness if travelling above 2500 metres that may expose you to a lower-oxygen environment thus leading to certain medical conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart conditions; ear and sinus symptoms; motion sickness and jet lag.

Ezza Omar
GWS Analyst
Security risk analyst based in Kuala Lumpur

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