There are many things you can do to ensure you are a healthy traveller, and your local UFS Pharmacy can assist with your preparations.
Ensure you have no underlying health issues, especially if you are travelling overseas or to a remote location. Ensure you have sufficient scripts to enable you to take enough medication with you to your destination. Smart Traveller recommends you carry a signed letter from your GP detailing what the medicine is, how much you’ll be taking and stating the medicine is for your personal use, or the personal use of someone travelling with you, eg. a child.
Infectious diseases that cause some illnesses when travelling are often preventable through vaccinations. Sometimes vaccinations are an entry requirement for certain countries eg. Yellow fever, so check with your pharmacist or GP. It’s never too late to vaccinate, however some vaccines require a longer period to take effect so try to factor this into your travel plans. You may also need boosters for childhood vaccines.
Check with the relevant embassy or consulate in Australia to see if there are any limitations on what medications you can take to particular countries. Some medicines that are legally available in Australia are not allowed in other countries, eg. codeine. If your medication is illegal at your destination, ask your doctor about alternatives. It is an offence to carry or send Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medications overseas unless it is for personal use or for someone travelling with you, so it’s important to leave all medications in original packaging where possible so they are labelled with your details to avoid customs problems.
If you have large quantities of medications, it may be helpful to divide portions among different pieces of your luggage in case bags go missing. If you have to inject medications, it may be preferable to carry your own needles and syringes. If you buy syringes and needles overseas ensure they are sterile, sealed and in date.
If your medication has to be refrigerated while travelling long distances, ensure you have correct storage requirements and contact the airline to see what requirements and procedures they have in place for refrigeration of medications.
Some complementary medicines, vitamins and supplements are difficult to obtain overseas, eg. Vitamin D is readily available over the counter in Australia but in other countries it is only available on prescription depending on the dosage. There may also be differences in the formulation of the product in other countries. Don’t forget to mention to your doctor any complementary medicines, vitamins and supplements you are taking so they can add it to your list of medications on the doctor’s letter.
When travelling overseas, it can be difficult to obtain common over-the-counter remedies where you do not speak the language, or in remote areas. Your pharmacist can recommend useful items to take with you depending on your destination.
Here are some links for great health advice and tips when travelling: