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An easy way to be fit for travel!

November 2019

Couple in bright holiday shirts
Health is an important aspect of a successful trip

The nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping. For many lucky people nearing retirement or already retired, winter can be the time to plan and enjoy great trips away.  More than ever before, there is a range of holidays and trips that are ideal for our age group, from warm weather cruises to accompanied tours to exciting places.

However, as we get older it becomes more important than ever to be aware of any health risks in the countries we are planning to visit. So it is good to know of an excellent site called Fit For Travel which can offer a lot of sound information to make sure you keep safe and healthy during your trip.

Fit For Travel has been put together by the Travel and International Health Team of Health Protection Scotland.  Its aim is to provide a service to protect UK travellers from travel associated health risks but it is also interested in limiting any impact from people coming back into the UK and bringing diseases or infections with them.

The site is free and easy to navigate, and it also contains a wealth of up to date information covering everything from general travel tips to specific health risks of almost every country.

For instance, in its general health issues section it has a detailed page covering flying. This includes a huge range of subjects from airline restrictions and fear of flying to security, in flight problems and jet lag. The section on medical risks when flying cover another big area of topics from deep vein thrombosis to diabetes monitoring and import controls when travelling with medication.

The website is interesting to scroll through and may bring up some areas you had not considered...bat bites is one if you are visiting any caves or bat sites. Rabies is another...the site includes a clear world map showing rabies risk areas plus useful information on how to avoid problems and what to do in the unfortunate event that you are bitten.

A very useful aspect of the site is the health information provided for pretty well every country in the world, from Algeria to Zimbabwe plus a range of less likely destinations such as the Comoros, Eswartina and Tokelau. 

Fit for Travel also maintains a very current news site as part of the website, and this can be worth scrolling through in case anything relates to a region you are visiting. For instance, Fit For Travel last week reported that the Ukrainian Ministry of Health has identified a case of polio in the north west of the country. It seems that recently Ukraine has been considered at risk of polio outbreaks because of insufficient rates of vaccination in the country. Fit For Travel quotes World Health Organisation health recommendations for visiting the area, including a polio booster if it has been more than 10 years since your last inoculation. Even more, the site will sometimes put up special health report pages if there are special events that a lot of British people may be travelling to, for instance they put up dedicated health information for visitors going to the Rugby world cup in Japan last September.

Finally the site has a very full and details resources section including links to a mass of additional useful websites, from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to British Airways Medical Service to Altitude Org which gives advice if you are visiting any region that is particularly high (Zermatt or Machu Picchu for instance).

It makes sense to visit this site before booking a trip to ensure your destination is appropriate for with your current state of health. Then, once booked, it is worth revisiting this site for any additional health bits and pieces you may be unsure of. 

Fit For Travel is found at:

https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

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