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I N T R A N S I T • • D e e p V e i n T h r o m b o s i s ( D V T ) 331

Health
CONTENTS
Before You Go
Insurance
Recommended Vaccinations
Online Resources
Further Reading
In Transit
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Jet Lag & Motion Sickness
In Greenland & the Arctic
Availability & Cost of Health Care
Infectious Diseases
Traveller’s Diarrhoea
Environmental Hazards
Travelling with Children
Sexual Health

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BEFORE YOU GO
Prevention is key to staying healthy while
abroad. A little planning before departure, particularly for pre-existing illnesses,
will save trouble later. See your dentist before a long trip, carry a spare pair of contact
lenses and glasses, and take your optical
prescription with you. Bring medications
in their original, clearly labelled containers. A signed and dated letter from your
doctor describing your medical conditions
and medications, including generic names,
is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or
needles, be sure to have a doctor’s letter
documenting their medical necessity.

INSURANCE
If you’re an EU citizen or from Switzerland,
Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, the European Health Insurance Card will cover you
for emergency health care or in the case of
accident while in European Economic Area
(EEA) countries, which include Denmark,
Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The card will not cover you for nonemergencies or emergency repatriation. It
is being phased in from mid-2004 and will
be fully operational by the end of 2005. Old
documentation (such as the previously used

E111) will be available in the interim. Every
family member will need a separate card. In
the UK, application forms are available from
post offices or can be downloaded from the
Department of Health website (
.uk). Note that Greenland isn’t part of the
EEA but is covered by a separate reciprocal
health-care agreement with the UK.
Citizens of other countries should find out
if there is a reciprocal arrangement for free
medical care between their country and the
country visited. For travel to Arctic North
America or Arctic Russia you should take out
health insurance. If you do need health insurance, strongly consider a policy that covers
you for the worst possible scenario, such as
an accident requiring emergency evacuation.
Find out in advance if your insurance plan
will make payments directly to providers or
reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. The former option is generally
preferable, a...
330
CONTENTS
HEALTH
BEFORE YOU GO
Prevention is key to staying healthy while
abroad. A little planning before depart-
ure, particularly for pre-existing illnesses,
will save trouble later. See your dentist be-
fore a long trip, carry a spare pair of contact
lenses and glasses, and take your optical
prescription with you. Bring medications
in their original, clearly labelled contain-
ers. A signed and dated letter from your
doctor describing your medical conditions
and medications, including generic names,
is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or
needles, be sure to have a doctor’s letter
documenting their medical necessity.
INSURANCE
If you’re an EU citizen or from Switzerland,
Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, the Euro-
pean Health Insurance Card will cover you
for emergency health care or in the case of
accident while in European Economic Area
(EEA) countries, which include Denmark,
Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The card will not cover you for non-
emergencies or emergency repatriation. It
is being phased in from mid-2004 and will
be fully operational by the end of 2005. Old
documentation (such as the previously used
Health
E111) will be available in the interim. Every
family member will need a separate card. In
the UK, application forms are available from
post offices or can be downloaded from the
Department of Health website (www.dh.gov
.uk). Note that Greenland isn’t part of the
EEA but is covered by a separate reciprocal
health-care agreement with the UK.
Citizens of other countries should find out
if there is a reciprocal arrangement for free
medical care between their country and the
country visited. For travel to Arctic North
America or Arctic Russia you should take out
health insurance. If you do need health insur-
ance, strongly consider a policy that covers
you for the worst possible scenario, such as
an accident requiring emergency evacuation.
Find out in advance if your insurance plan
will make payments directly to providers or
reimburse you later for overseas health ex-
penditures. The former option is generally
preferable, as it doesn’t require you to pay
out of pocket in a foreign country.
RECOMMENDED VACCINATIONS
The World Health Organization (WHO)
recommends that all travellers should be
covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles,
mumps, rubella and polio, regardless of
their destination. Since most vaccines don’t
produce immunity until at least two weeks
after they’re given, visit a physician at least
six weeks before departure.
ONLINE RESOURCES
The WHO’s publication International Travel
and Health is revised annually and is avail-
able online at www.who.int/ith. Other useful
websites include www.mdtravelhealth.com
(travel-health recommendations for every
country, updated daily), www.fitfortravel.scot
.nhs.uk (general travel advice), www.agecon
cern.org.uk (advice on travel for the elderly)
and www.mariestopes.org.uk (information
on women’s health and contraception).
FURTHER READING
Health Advice for Travellers (currently called
the ‘T6’ leaflet) is an annually updated leaf-
let by the Department of Health in the UK
available free in post offices. It contains
some general information, legally required
and recommended vaccines for different
countries, and reciprocal health agreements.
Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children includes
advice on travel health for younger children.
Other recommended references include
Traveller’s Health, by Dr Richard Dawood
(Oxford University Press), and The Travel-
ler’s Good Health Guide, by Ted Lankester
(Sheldon Press).
IN TRANSIT
DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT )
Blood clots may form in the legs during plane
flights, chiefly because of prolonged immo-
bility – the longer the flight, the greater the
risk. The chief symptom of DVT is swelling
or pain of the foot, ankle or calf, usually but
not always on just one side. When a blood
clot travels to the lungs, it may cause chest
pain and breathing difficulties. Travellers
with any of these symptoms should imme-
diately seek medical attention.
To prevent the development of DVT
on long flights you should walk about the
cabin, contract leg muscles while sitting,
drink plenty of fluids, and avoid alcohol
and tobacco.
JET LAG & MOTION SICKNESS
To avoid jet lag (common when crossing
more than five time zones), try drinking
plenty of nonalcoholic fluids and eating light
meals. Upon arrival, get exposure to nat-
ural sunlight and readjust your schedule (for
meals, sleep and so on) as soon as possible.
Antihistamines such as dimenhydrinate
(Dramamine) and meclizine (Antivert, Bonine)
are usually the first choice for treating mo-
tion sickness. A herbal alternative is ginger.
IN GREENLAND &
THE ARCTIC
AVAILABILITY & COST OF
HEALTH CARE
Good health care is readily available, and for
minor, self-limiting illnesses pharmacists
can dispense valuable advice and over-the-
counter medication. They can also advise
when more specialised help is required. The
standard of dental care is usually good; how-
ever, it is sensible to have a dental checkup
before a long trip.
In all Arctic communities you will find
some sort of medical care. In Greenland
and Arctic Scandinavia health care is excel-
lent and in Scandinavia it’s generally free to
those carrying a European Health Insur-
ance Card (see p220). Note that in Sweden
travellers still have to pay some treatment
costs. Facilities in Arctic North America
are also modern and well equipped, but
treatment can be expensive so you’d be
well advised to take out comprehensive
travel insurance. In Arctic Russia facili-
ties are generally older and below Western
standards, and there’s often a shortage of
basic supplies and equipment. Access to
medical treatment is generally by cash pay-
ment at Western rates. Travellers in remote
regions should bring their own syringes
with them.
In all Arctic communities there will be
some medical facilities available, but many
smaller settlements do not have a resident
doctor. Local nursing stations are, however,
generally very well equipped and staffed
with specially trained nurses qualified to
deal with most problems. For serious ill-
ness or emergencies a medical evacuation is
generally necessary and can be exorbitantly
expensive. Make sure your insurance covers
you for this.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Tick-borne encephalitis is spread by tick
bites. It is a serious infection of the brain,
and vaccination is advised for those in risk
areas who are unable to avoid tick bites
(such as campers, forestry workers and
ramblers). Two doses of vaccine will give
a year’s protection; three doses up to three
years.
Before You Go 330
Insurance 330
Recommended Vaccinations 330
Online Resources 330
Further Reading 331
In Transit 331
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) 331
Jet Lag & Motion Sickness 331
In Greenland & the Arctic 331
Availability & Cost of Health Care 331
Infectious Diseases 331
Traveller’s Diarrhoea 332
Environmental Hazards 332
Travelling with Children 332
Sexual Health 333
HEALTH
CHECK BEFORE YOU GO
It’s usually a good idea to consult your
government’s travel-health website (if
available) before departure:
Australia www.dfat.gov.au/travel
Canada www.travelhealth.gc.ca
United Kingdom www.doh.gov.uk
/traveladvice
United States www.cdc.gov/travel
IN TRANSIT •• Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) 331
© Lonely Planet Publications
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