Jet-setting Australians plagued by travel sickness
Dr Bernard Hudson and Adam Liaw shine the light on the health risks associated with travel.
I didn’t think twice before accepting an invitation for the “Travel Together Event” on 29 June, at the chic harbourside hotel, Ovolo, Woolloomooloo.
Hosted by Masterchef Adam Liaw of Destination Flavour fame, on behalf of Sanofi Pasteur, the aim of the event was to shine the light on the potential health risks that continually lurk behind the shadows of international travel. A subject that is close to my heart, I joined a throng of fellow globetrotters at the hotel’s Piper Room which was set up to look like an exotic marketplace. Ambling from stall to stall, we relaxed into a travel vibe as we savoured the various delicacies from across the world, listening to the laid back strains of a Jamaican beat.
After settling into the colour and spectacle, Sydney Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr Bernard Hudson joined Adam Liaw in presenting the more serious side of traveling the world, that of Australian travellers losing precious holiday time because they’re not aware of the health risks associated with travel.
Here are some confronting facts (according to research conducted by Sanofi Pasteur):
* Travellers who fell sick on their last trip to an ‘at-risk’ destination spent about one-third (31%) of their holiday bedridden or unwell.
* While Aussies are travelling to ‘at-risk’ destinations - South East Asia, South and Central America, Africa and the Middle East - in record numbers, research shows that many (42%) aren’t getting health advice that could protect them against serious travel-related diseases. These diseases include hepatitis A, rabies, typhoid fever and yellow fever, which have the potential to ruin holidays and leave people with long term symptoms.
Back to the “Travel Together Event”, Dr Hudson stressed the importance of getting the right health advice at least six weeks prior to travel. He said, “Holidaymakers who prioritise itineraries over their own health are putting themselves and potentially those around them at risk, especially if they’re visiting high risk destinations.”
“The reality is, no one wants to be bedridden on holiday, have to take time off work when they return or spread a travel-related disease to their loved ones. It doesn’t take much to get the right health advice before you take off.”
Dr Hudson said in closing, “Depending on your destination you may need medication, vaccinations or other advice. Make it a top priority, just as you would your plane tickets and insurance.”
I couldn’t agree with Dr Hudson more...While I’m a firm believer in the rewards of the journey far outweighing the risk of leaving our shores, one must also consider the realities of ‘at-risk’ destinations and plan for the worst case scenarios. After all, a successful travel experience depends equally on the preparation that we make ahead of the trip as well as the precautions we take while on our journey.