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October 10, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Student Health Service – Planning to Travel?

A travel health appointment at the Student Health Service (SHS) will provide you with relevant information regarding how to protect your health while overseas including how to reduce your risk of contracting potentially fatal infections such as malaria, rabies and dengue fever. Even if you are planning a trip to the Pacific or a week in Bali, it is worth making an appointment. Three of our doctors have postgraduate qualifications in Travel Health and the nursing team are knowledgeable about and skilled administrators of travel immunisations.

Time is of the essence: please try to schedule a travel health appointment two months before your departure date. This is necessary as some travel immunisations take a few weeks before they are able to provide you with protection against infection. However, even if you are leaving in one or two weeks it is still recommended that you discuss your plans with a doctor. This is particularly relevant if you are travelling to a high risk area, for example parts of South East Asia and India, both of which are popular destinations for students.

Travel appointments with the doctor take thirty minutes and cost between $56.00 – 63.00. There will be additional charges for any immunisations the doctor may prescribe for you. It is important that that you are able to provide the doctor with your immunisation history. To obtain this information you may have to search for your Plunket Book or ask your family or your current and possibly your previous health centre. It is particularly helpful to know if you have had the following immunisations or diseases and when you had them:

– Tetanus\Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A and Chicken pox.

– When you see the doctor tell them about your health history including if you have any allergies. If your doctor prescribes travel immunisations you will also require an appointment with a nurse. You can either arrange to have this appointment straight after seeing the doctor or return to see the nurse another day. Often you are able to receive all the immunisations you require in one visit. Some students may require two or three visits to complete the immunisation course prescribed for them.
The doctor will also provide you with: written information regarding food and water safety, malaria prevention and common infections experienced by tourists such as travellers’ diarrhoea; prescriptions for any regular medication you take and other medications such as oral replacement salts, antibiotics to treat diarrhoea and urinary tract infections, tablets to help reduce the risk of contracting malaria, condoms and the emergency contraceptive pill; and general safety advice including how to deal with jet lag, sexual health, safe air travel.

If you are planning to go diving during your trip it is also recommended that you schedule another appointment at the SHS with a doctor for a Diving Medical. It is important to remember that it is dangerous to dive before air travel. You will need to wait at least 12 to 24 hours before flying.

If you are travelling to South America or Africa, planning long term travel, or if you may require immunisations for Yellow Fever, Rabies or Japanese Encephalitis we recommend that you make an appointment at The Travel Doctor rather than the SHS. This is because the those vaccinations need to administered from a specialist travel clinic by authorised staff. The Travel Doctor is located in the Grand Arcade, 14-16 Willis Street, telephone 473 0991. The Travel Doctor offers a 10 per cent discount off products such as insect repellent and water purifying tablets for students with a current Victoria University Identification Card.


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  1. Tess says:

    If not for your writing this topic could be very convoluted and obilque.

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