travel immunisation noosa heads

Health checks

It is common for travellers to become ill while overseas. Sometimes travel illnesses can be life-threatening. The risk of becoming ill can be reduced by proper preparation. Travel health planning should ideally start at least six weeks before departure, but it is never too late to seek good advice.

If you have any pre-existing or chronic health problems, you should have a check-up with your GP before you travel. Your GP will help ensure your conditions are stable and develop a plan for managing your conditions while travelling. You should also obtain a letter from your doctor with the details of any prescription medication you will be carrying with you.

Some medical conditions increase the risk of getting a blood clot during a flight. Talk with your doctor about whether you need to take extra precautions.

Our doctor’s can provide advice about health risks at your destination, including vaccines you might need and any other medication you need to take. They can also advise on other ways of preventing specific diseases while travelling as vaccines only provide protection against some diseases.

If you plan to travel to locations or undertake activities at high altitude (above 2,500 metres) you should get specific advice for your situation. Altitude sickness can affect anyone, even the physically fit.

Travel health clinics can also provide specialised travel medical kits that contain prescription medications for treating simple travel illness.

General recommendations about vaccinations

Vaccinations are a safe and important part of looking after your health. Vaccines can be general, or specific to a destination or activity. Some vaccines are cheap, others very expensive – so discussing priorities with a travel health specialist is advised.

Some countries require proof of vaccination against specific diseases as a condition of entry. You’ll need to check the travel advice for your destination, or the embassy or consulate of the countries you intend to visit or transit. If you are not vaccinated, you may be refused entry or required to have the vaccination at the border.

Vaccines against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella are provided as part of Australia’s, childhood vaccination program but a booster may be required depending on your age. The seasonal influenza vaccine is funded by the government for those at high risk of developing complications from influenza.

Travellers to some countries should be up to date with hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines, including any country where bottled water is recommended.

Some vaccines require more than one dose, so it is important to start the course well in advance of travel. These include hepatitis B and rabies. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for frequent, high risk or long-term travellers. If travelling where rabies exists and animal exposure is possible, consider pre-exposure rabies vaccine.

Other vaccines may be destination specific. Proof of yellow fever vaccine is required for entry to some parts of Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean. See our country-specific travel advice for details. Japanese encephalitis vaccine is used for high-risk or long-term travel in Asia, and a meningitis vaccine may be recommended for certain destinations in Africa or elsewhere.

What diseases should I be vaccinated against?

Health risks within a country can vary from one region to another and over time, and within each country there may be new outbreaks. New vaccines may be available and if it has been a while since your past vaccinations, you may need boosters. That’s why it’s important that you visit your doctor well before your trip to discuss the vaccines you might need.

Your doctor will take into account factors such as:

  • Your age
  • Where you were born
  • Your previous vaccinations
  • Any past or present illnesses you may have, and your general health
  • Your destination(s) and length of stay.

You may need one or more vaccines for diseases such as:

  • Hepatitis A and hepatitis B
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies.

→ For more information on immunisation and vaccines head to National Immunisation Program.