Enjoy the trip but don’t bring home a superbug with your souvenirs writes Clifford Fram, AAP
Have a great trip, but overseas travellers should do all they can not to bring superbugs home, according to an infections expert concerned about the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Dr Philippa Binns, NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser, says this means they should plan ahead and have the correct jabs. Travellers should also remember:
- Good hygiene, including regular hand washing, is essential
- Depending on the destination, it is often best to drink bottled or boiled water
- Avoid ice
- Eat fruit you peel yourself and avoid raw or reheated food.
A big concern is drug-resistant gonorrhoea, which has been circulating in Japan since 2003 and in Norway and the UK since 2010.
Measles, a viral infection, can be prevented by vaccination, but is common in some parts of Europe, Asia, the Pacific islands, the US and Africa.
Overseas travel exposes people to infectious diseases not generally found in Australia, says Dr Binns.
But an NPS survey of 1000 people found 50 percent had never considered the risk of catching an antibiotic-resistant infection overseas.
“Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a problem everywhere. International travel means that they can spread quickly around the world,” says Dr Binns.
“Not everyone will catch a superbug if they get sick overseas, but we should take every precaution to avoid infection.
“Before you jet off, make sure you know what to do if you get sick,” she says. “It can be tempting to buy antibiotics over the counter, but it is critical that people speak to a qualified health professional who can provide expert advice.”
It was also essential for people to take antibiotics exactly as instructed.
“If you feel unwell or need to see the doctor once you’ve returned home, be sure to tell them where you’ve been,” Dr Binns says.
And to ensure you arrive in tip top shape, read out tips on staying energised during the flight.