What health issues should I consider when travelling?


It's a good idea for anyone travelling to have a well laid out plan, especially if visiting a foreign country. Other than a few extra things to think about, it should be no different for you.


Food and Drink


Be careful what you eat and drink abroad. Food and water can be contaminated, (including ice). Eat only food that is cooked and served hot, and avoid raw foods. Drink only bottled or boiled water. If water is a known problem where you are going, take water purification tablets.


If you're on a special diet, take what you can with you, and stock up where possible. That way, you won't go hungry if there's nothing you can eat. 


Depending on which country you are visiting, you may be offered the dual hepatitis A and B vaccine to protect against infection from contaminated food or water.


Treatment Abroad


Take information about your diagnosis, current state of health and treatment with you. If you fall ill abroad, this will be useful for the doctors treating you.

Any traveller should be aware that not all blood is screened for blood borne viruses in developing countries. Surgical, medical and dental procedures can therefore put you at risk of infection. It is also true to say that not all countries have the same regulations regarding sterilisation.  So getting tattoos and piercings can also be a risk.


Checklist:  Making a check list like this one means you won’t forget anything.

  • Have I packed my pills and potions in my hand luggage?
  • Have I packed my needles and syringes in the hold luggage?
  • Have I got a letter verifying that I need my treatments?
  • Have I got the medication sealed in a proper medical kit so it remains sterile?
  • Have I got plenty of food and water if needed?
  • Am I too tired to drive?
  • Have I got a doctor's letter with me to explain my medication or symptoms?
  • Have I got my doctor's contact details with me?
  • Have I got my test results in case I need treatment abroad?
  • Does my hotel know about my special diet?
  • Can the airline and hotel keep my medication in a fridge?
  • Are there any visa restrictions I should be aware of?
  • Have I got enough medication to last until I get home?
  • Do I have all the vaccinations I need?
  • Have I got the phone numbers and addresses of hospitals and health clinics where I am going?
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Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 

The Scottish Government has published the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework to tackle Hepatitis B in Scotland.
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