Medical Advice & Prescriptions

Travel Tip Background Info:
I am NOT a doctor!

Travel Vaccinations

I strongly advise booking in to see a doctor who specialises in travel as soon as you know where you will be travelling to, at least 6 weeks prior to departure (but it’s never too late!).
A travel doctor will be able to give you the most current advice for your destination and can arrange the relevant vaccinations – this information does change, so it’s always worth the doctor visit.

It is important to see the travel doctor fairly early on, as some vaccinations take time to kick in or require multiple doses over a period of time in order to provide you with the full protection.
Some examples I have experienced recently: the Yellow Fever vaccination takes 10 days to kick in, Doxycycline (for malaria) is a daily dosage that needs to be taken two days prior to departure, through the duration of the trip and for 8 or more weeks after your return.

Travel Vaccinations are often recorded in a little vaccination booklet (mine is yellow so it stands out and because it has a page for the yellow fever vaccination) which you should carry with you when you travel, you should also take a photo or scan a copy to store electronically in your email or in the cloud. Some countries may not let you enter without providing evidence of certain vaccinations eg. if you have been to a yellow fever declared country you will not be able to enter Australia without a vaccination certificate.

Prescriptions

If you have essential medication, it is worth taking double the amount you need and putting half in your checked baggage and half in your hand luggage, so that if a bag is lost or stolen, you still have enough for your trip.

For life sustaining medication (eg. insulin for a diabetic person)  then it is advisable to pack three times the required quantity.

Make sure that you carry a printed copy of your prescriptions and have an electronic copy in the cloud.

There are a couple of reasons to carry a copy of your script:

  1. If something happens, you run out of your prescription meds or you break your glasses, you can go to a local doctor and provide them a copy of your current script so that they know what the active ingredients and dosages are that are appropriate for you.
    It can be quite challenging to get a script filled in a foreign country.
  2. If you are stopped in customs or detained by authorities for any reason, it is important to be able to provide evidence that the prescription meds you are carrying (that have a label with your name on them from the chemist) match the script provided by your doctor and that both match the name in your passport. This is particularly important if it is a medication restricted in the country you are travelling to.

Travel Advice App

My local travel GP Dr Anna recommends the Travel Health iPhone app. It covers most travel advice and also provides the name of the correct antibiotic/ drug and dosage to treat specific common medical conditions. In many countries, you can just go to the pharmacy (or equivalent) and ask for that drug by name without a script.

Travel Insurance

If you are like me, you have never had to make a claim on your travel insurance – but honestly it’s not worth the risk to travel without it.
When choosing your travel insurance it’s worth checking that it covers evacuation back to your home country if necessary.

Check out my Travel Insurance Tips.

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