TRAVEL health specialist Dr Danforn Lim talked exclusively to Seniors News about what vaccines Seniors should remember getting before they head off on their next travel adventure.
What vaccines are needed and for where?
- Outbreaks occur throughout the world and sometimes in countries with a low risk for hepatitis A.
- You can get it through contaminated food or water.
- This vaccine is recommended for most travellers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
- Talk to your doctor to see if the hepatitis A vaccine is right for you.
- Certain countries may have a higher risk of catching malaria.
- Avoid mosquito bites.
- Prescription medicine may be needed before, during, and after a trip to prevent malaria, depending on travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are travelling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside.
- Talk to your doctor about other ways you can prevent malaria.
- It is a risk in certain parts of the world.
- You need to get this vaccine at a Yellow Fever Vaccine accredited medical centre.
You can reduce the risk of getting an infectious disease by taking some simple preventative measures. Good advice on the main health risks of travelling to particular countries can be found online at VaccineHub, Smartraveller and by consulting a doctor experienced in travel medicine.
Where to get vaccines done, and where not to?
Most travel vaccines can be done at the local medical centre or at your family GP practice.
How to keep a record of your vaccines?
- If you get all your vaccines done in one medical centre, ask the staff to print out the vaccination record.
- If you are not sure if you have immunity against infectious disease (i.e. you are not sure if you need a booster vaccine or not), your doctor can do blood tests for you to ascertain if you need any booster vaccines or not.
- You can get a copy of the blood results as a proof of your immunity against various infectious diseases.
Older doesn't necessarily mean wiser
Lonergan Research, commissioned by Sanofi, earlier this year surveyed 1042 Australians 'at-risk' travellers aged 18+. They found Senior travellers were remiss in taking appropriate travel protection -
- About 41 per cent of seniors travelling to an 'at-risk' destination didn't see a doctor for a pre-travel health check before their last trip.
- Sixty per cent of seniors who recently travelled to an 'at-risk' destination don't believe that there is a risk of spreading a travel-related disease once returned home.
- Senior travellers are more likely to have not discussed specific travel health topics with their doctor before their last trip, most significantly for jetlag and altitude sickness, rabies (animal bite avoidance), malaria prevention (mosquito avoidance), safe eating and drinking advice.
- More than half of seniors 'at-risk' travellers are more worried about terrorism or plane crashes than catching diseases when travelling overseas.
- Senior 'at-risk' travellers are less likely than all 'at-risk' travellers to have a current vaccination for hepatitis A, as well as typhoid and yellow fever.
For more information on travel vaccines, go to www.vaccinehub.com.au.