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Travel safely with these top tips

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Whether it’s a well-earned break or a business trip, here’s some simple advice for staying healthy abroad.

Seek advice before you leave

Six to eight weeks before you travel, it’s a good idea to consult your Unichem Pharmacist about:

  • Any health concerns present in the country to which you’re travelling
  • Any vaccinations or treatment you may need before you leave
  • Any medication you should take with you

Get vaccinated if appropriate

You should check with your doctor that all your routine immunisations are up-to-date such as influenza, tetanus, measles, and polio vaccinations.

A number of vaccinations are available at selected Unichem Pharmacies – talk to the Pharmacist about:

  • Influenza (flu)
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Shingles
  • Whooping cough

Check your prescription medications

There are different rules on the types of medications you can take into different countries.

If you need to take medications with you, check the regulations that apply by visiting the website of the embassy or high commission of the country you are visiting.

If you are travelling with large quantities of medication, ask your Unichem Pharmacist to give you a letter explaining why you are carrying the medication. You may also need one from your doctor.

Building a basic first aid kit

A properly stocked first aid kit is a good idea for dealing with most emergencies during your travels and should include:

  • Directions on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Antibacterial cream or ointment
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Disposable gloves (at least 2 pairs)
  • Cotton buds
  • Crepe-rolled bandages of several widths
  • Eye pads (2)
  • Gauze swabs
  • Instant cold packs
  • Non-stick dressings and wound pads
  • Pain relief tablets
  • Plasters of various sizes
  • Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Skin rash cream (eg hydrocortisone 0.5% cream)
  • Sterile saline and water
  • Digital thermometer
  • Triangular bandage
  • Wound closure strips
  • Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen

Print this checklist.

Tips for when you are away

  • If hygiene standards are a bit suspect, only eat food that has been thoroughly cooked and only drink well-sealed bottled or packaged cold drinks
  • If the water quality is doubtful, boil drinking water or use water purification tablets and avoid ice in your drinks
  • Take sensible precautions: For example, in areas where there is a malaria risk, cover yourself well and use insect repellent
  • Carry medicines in your hand luggage in case your luggage is lost
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet if you have allergies or a chronic illness
  • If you are treated overseas for illness or injury, obtain a full written medical report for your insurer or for ACC

When you come back home

If you become ill after returning from overseas, in particular if you develop flu-like symptoms or a respiratory illness, see your doctor and let them know which countries you have visited.

Daniella – Pharmacist, Unichem 218 Ponsonby Pharmacy, Auckland