Gap Year Travel Health
Travel Health for Backpackers and Travellers
Travelling can expose you to a lot of potential health dangers so it’s vital to know how to stay healthy.
If you don't want to contract tetanus, poliomyelitis, cholera, tuberculosis, diphtheria, yellow fever, rabies, malaria, HIV or any of the varieties of hepatitis, then you need to take precautions. Get the vaccinations you need well before you go, sort out anti-malaria tablets if you need them, and wise up on what to eat and drink. Also, make sure you take precautions against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
We’ve loads of sound advice on the best anti-malaria tablets, where the malaria hot-spots are, what you should be vaccinated against and what to pack in your a first-aid kit. Make sure you read our gap year travel heath articles and guides - you never know, it may just save your life.
Our advice is no substitute for visiting your doctor. All the best general practitioner (GP) surgeries run travel health clinics with advice and information directly from medics, and you really must contact your local clinic and make an appointment.
We would advise that three to six months before your trip you:
- Visit your GP for a general health check-up in preparation for going overseas, especially if you are considering a long trip
- Ask any questions relating to your trip. What vaccinations do you need and how much will they cost? What are the side effects of anti-malaria tablets? How long do you need to take them before you go? What contraception you should use while travelling?
- Book appointments to have any vaccinations you need administered well before you leave
- Prepare a comprehensive first-aid kit
There is no combination more ideal for meeting a new partner; sun, beach, cheap alcohol and nothing else to worry about. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are on the rise, not just amongst young people back home, but even more so amongst young travellers. Just make sure you know how to stay safe on your travels...
This guide was written by travel health expert Doctor Seb Kalwij and covers the basic issues that you should know about before you travel. Dr Seb Kalwij is one of gapyear.com's travel health experts. He's been involved with travel health projects all over the World, and is now a GP in London.
However, this section is no substitute for a visit to your own doc. Your local GP should run a travel clinic. We suggest that you contact him / her to find out when it is.
Particularly prevalent amongst travellers who have been on the road for years on end. Symptoms include: the sufferer making wildly improbable claims about where they have been, what they have seen, and how much they have spent. While not communicable, if someone starts telling you that they travelled on 53 cents a day by sleeping on park benches and recycling their own urine, you should give them a wide berth - if only for your own sanity.