Travelling away from home for either work or pleasure can be a time of excitement and is often a
source of stress. The stress of travel can be made worse if you are unprepared for health related
To be more prepared for the possibilities, it is helpful to bring along a medical kit that contains various
over the counter medications, and may contain medications prescribed by your doctor. These
prescribed medications would include regularly taken prescription medications, as well as other
prescribed medications which may be recommended based on your particular health concerns and/or
OVER THE COUNTER ITEMS TO CONSIDER
Over the counter medications that could be helpful would include something for pain or fever.
Ibuprofen (eg Nurofen, Brufen) or paracetamol (eg Panadol) are items that ought to be included in
one’s medical kit.
Motion sickness is a commonly experienced issue, and can be brought on by almost any form of travel,
including driving, flying or boat travel. Unfortunately, once you begin feeling the symptoms of motion
sickness, it can be too late for the medications to work. If you are prone to motion sickness, it is best to
assume you will develop symptoms, and take the medication before the symptoms start.
Dimenydrinate (eg Travelcalm) and hyoscine hydrobromide (eg Kwells) are commonly available in your
local pharmacy, and work well for many people. Remember that all motion sickness medications can
Antidiarrheal medications may become necessary, despite being careful about your exposures
(avoiding tap water, ice made from tap water, street food). Most travel related diarrhea will eventually
resolve on its own, and the symptoms can be managed with plenty of fluids, including electrolyte
replacement products (eg Hydrolyte) and your own supply of an over the counter anti-diarrheal
medication. These medications include loperamide (eg GastroStop, Imodium). If you have profuse,
and/or prolonged diarrhea, high fevers, or note blood in the diarrhea, you should seek medical attention
Other items that you may want to consider packing would be symptom relief medication for a cold
(such as Codral) or topical anti-itch cream for rashes (1% hydrocortisone).
Be sure that you have adequate supplies of all your regularly prescribed medications. Your doctor can
communicate with the pharmacy to help provide a maximum of 6 months of medication to take along
with you. Taking a few extra days’ worth of medication could help you avoid be caught out if your trip is
extended unexpectedly. It is advised to take all of your medications with you in your carry on to avoid
complications of delayed or lost checked baggage.
You should always bring the medications in their original packaging, with your name, and your doctor’s
name on the pharmacy label. If you like to use a week long dosage box, it is best to fill this up after your
arrive, rather than having to explain the unmarked tablets to a suspicious customs officer.
Additionally, your doctor can print off a health summary sheet to take along. This is a brief list of your
current medications, allergies, immunizations and a health problem list. A document like this can save
quite a bit of time overseas if you are in a position to require more urgent medical care.
It is possible that your destination requires prescription medication that is outside of what you might
normally need. These medications could include malaria prevention, altitude sickness prevention, and
specific antibiotics recommended due to outbreaks noted at your destination.
For all overseas travel, even to commonly chosen destinations like Bali, it is highly recommended that
you set up an appointment to review your medical travel needs with your doctor as soon as you have
made your plans. Immunizations like Hepatitis A require up to 6 months lead time to complete the
series. Some counties require documented proof of immunization prior to arrival, most commonly
Yellow Fever. Terrigal Medical Centre is a certified travel clinic, and can provide all the necessary
immunizations, including Yellow Fever, and proof (the Yellow Book) prior to your travel. The practice
has access to a regularly updated database that provides accurate information on immunization
requirements and recommendations, current disease outbreaks, and other possible issues throughout
AND WHEN YOU COME HOME…
It is important to remember that, sometimes, we can become unwell from our travels after we arrive
home. Malaria, for example, can take weeks to make someone unwell. If you become sick (vomiting,
diarrhea, fever, skin infections, or respiratory infections) within days or a few weeks after you get home,
it is best to set up an appointment to review your symptoms with your doctor, making sure to inform
her of your recent travel.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
With a little work beforehand, you can minimize your risks of health related issues while on your trip. A
pre-trip visit to your doctor, with appropriate immunisations and preventative medications, is a big part
of protecting you and your travel partners as you work and play during your travels. Don’t forget to
pack your own medical kit, and consider bringing along a health summary. Terrigal Medical Centre can
be part of your trip preparation, so be sure to let us know how we can help make your trip more safe