All individuals planning travel abroad should seek advice on the potential hazards in their chosen destinations and understand how best to protect their health and minimize the risk of acquiring disease. Forward planning, appropriate preventive measures and careful precautions can protect their health and minimize the risks of accident and of acquiring disease.
The risk of contracting disease varies from country to country, and in general, the level of risk increases when:
International travelers should consult a travel medicine clinic or medical practitioner before the journey. This consultation should take place at least 6 weeks before the journey. However, last-minute travelers can also benefit from a medical consultation, even as late as the day of travel). The consultation will include information about the most important health risks (including traffic accidents), determine the need for any vaccinations and/or antimalarial medication and identify any other medical items that the traveler may require.
Dental, gynecological and age-appropriate examinations are advisable before prolonged travel to developing countries or to remote areas. This is particularly important for people with chronic or recurrent health problems. Travelers with underlying medical problems are strongly advised to consult a travel medicine clinic or medical practitioner to ensure that their potentially complex travel health needs are met.