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Enjoy overseas travel safely – see your GP before you go


With a renewed sense of excitement and freedom, Aussies are embracing the chance to explore hotspot destinations, timeless holiday havens and experience immersive encounters. In fact, more than half (56%) of Aussies say the pandemic has made them more motivated to travel than ever before.

But amidst planning, packing and preparing, there could be one potentially fatal checklist item Aussies are forgetting. For three in four Aussies, leisure, and enjoyment are the top reasons for their travel but no one wants to fall ill during a vacation.

Australians’ carefree attitudes could be putting them in harm’s way with eight in ten (85%) Aussies who plan to travel overseas are not fully researching and understanding the health recommendations relevant to their destination.

Travellers can be exposed to infectious diseases that might not exist or aren’t prevalent in Australia, which is why vaccinations play a crucial role in keeping Aussies safe. Australians favourite holiday destinations in the Indo-Pacific can pose a high risk of illness from food and water borne diseases such as salmonella.

Ahead of what is expected to be another busy travel season with the summer holiday and Christmas on the horizon, the Immunisation Coalition is urging healthcare professionals to inform and advertise the importance to get vaccinated prior to travelling overseas.

The warning comes as one in three (31%) either do not see a doctor to discuss travel health and vaccination requirements or leave a consultation too close to their departure to receive full protection. In fact, four in ten (43%) Aussies had to seek professional medical assistance when travelling to at-risk destinations.

Dr Deb Mills, a renowned Australian travel doctor, says the proper pre-travel health advice can mean the difference between a trip to remember and one to forget.

“It’s crucial for travellers to organise a travel health consultation with a GP or travel doctor at least six to eight weeks prior to travel. The recommended vaccines will depend on exactly where they are going, what they will be doing, the duration of their stay, and their past medical and vaccine history,” says Dr Deb Mills.

“Healthcare professionals are there to help travellers know how to avoid local health risks and what to do if they get sick overseas.”

“The souvenir no-one wants to bring home is a germ to infect family, friends and community.”

Food tourism has been one of the driving motivators for travel in 2023 with two in three (64%) Aussies looking for destinations where they can experience and enjoy the local food and drink culture. However, travellers might not be aware of the health risks of consuming food or water from new places with half of travellers (49%) believing they got sick as a result of something they ate or drank.

Associate Professor Paul Griffin, Director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Health Services, says it’s now more than ever to actively inform and educate the public about the critical importance of travel health and vaccinations.

“Recommendations and encouragement from people you trust is very powerful. Healthcare professionals should discuss not only the importance of travel vaccinations, but the benefits preventing travel related infections has to the individual and the population as well as other ways to stay healthy whilst travelling,” Professor Paul Griffin says.

“This can be done by practising good hand hygiene, eating well cooked food, and only drinking bottled or other good quality sources of water. Vaccinations function as an extra layer of protection, allowing you to fully enjoy your experience without compromising your health.”

As part of protecting Australians travelling overseas, the Immunisation Coalition, Australia’s leading voice in whole-of-life immunisation, is urging healthcare professionals to assist travelling Australians to be proactive in seeking professional advice and taking the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy throughout their adventures abroad, by advertising the need for

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

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