Travel Clinics Newsletter – Winter 2008

Travel Clinics Australia have just released their latest newsletter – Winter 2008.

Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide

Travel Clinics Australia is about to release the 7th edition of the popular Traveller’s Pocket Medical Guide. This handy booklet, which includes an internationally recognised vaccination record, has helped thousands of travellers protect their health over the last decade. Each new edition is thoroughly reviewed and updated to include new vaccines, medications and travel health advice. Succinct information on common travel health issues such as gastro (traveller’s diarrhoea) and malaria prevention and management are packed into this travel resource.

Jet lag, travelling with children and other special risk groups, medication guides, first aid and a comparison of disease and vaccines are some of the topics covered in the passport sized booklet.

Every new traveller is given a free copy of the pocket guide with their first travel consultation. The booklet is popular with GPs all over Australia. Many companies also use it as an OH&S resource for staff. Pocket Guides can be purchased at clinics.

Looking After Your Ears

It is well known that sucking lollies, yawning and swallowing help equalize air pressure or ‘unblock ears’ when a plane descends. Yet, sometimes these measures are not enough to prevent distressing ear pain or barotitis, particularly in the young traveller.

It is estimated that up to 25% of children and 5% of adults will develop barotitis while flying, with many at risk of developing injury (temporary and permanent) to their ears. In addition to discussing other options, your Travel Clinic doctor may recommend a product called ‘Earplanes’ to help avoid barotitis.

Earplanes® are a special silicone and ceramic ear plug that helps regulate changes in airline cabin pressure. They are suited to people with a history of ear problems such as blocked eustachian tubes, which are more prevalent with winter colds, as well as for those with allergies and sinus infections. Earplanes® come in adult and children’s sizes and retail for around $22 a pair. They can be purchased from TCA clinics and through our website.

Travel Clinics Australia recommends all travellers with ear problems or a history of ear problems see one of our doctors prior to flying.

Bushwalking and Camping

Typhus is a disease caused by fleas, lice, mites or ticks. There are different types of typhus, found overseas and in Australia. Epidemic typhus, spread by body lice, was responsible for killing thousands of people during the world wars. It is mainly found in parts of Africa, South America and Europe.

Tick typhus, spread by ticks, is associated with dogs, cattle and wild animals. It is found in Mediterranean countries and Africa. Scrub typhus, spread by mites, occurs in Southeast Asia and PNG, and rarely, in some parts of northern Australia. Typhus causing insects usually attach to passing humans and transmit an infection by a bite. Travelling campers, bushwalkers and those staying in the affected areas are most at risk. Symptoms include fever, rigors (uncontrollable shaking), headache and a rash. Some people require hospitalisation. Fortunately, typhus is easily treated by antibiotics.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine Shortage

Due to a world wide shortage of the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, many Australian travellers are unable to access the injection prior to going overseas. Japanese Encephalitis, a relatively rare disease spread by mosquitoes, is seen in only a few parts of Asia and Papua New Guinea.

We recommend you speak to your Travel Clinic doctor prior to travelling to a country endemic with Japanese Encephalitis.