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Travel Medicine

You may encounter sudden and significant changes in altitude, humidity, microbes and temperature, which can result in ill-health. Health risks may also arise in areas of poor quality accommodation, inadequate hygiene and sanitation, and poorly developed medical services. Be prepared and do bring along some medications to treat minor illnesses.

Our pharmacist can help you select suitable medicine based on your family's needs.

  1. Fever and Pain
    • Paracetamol is a safe and an effective medicine for fever, mild aches and pains
    • Ibuprofen is an alternative painkiller for more severe pain, but may not be suitable for asthmatics or people with severe gastric problems.
     
  2. Diarrhoea
    • Oral rehydration salts replenish electrolytes and water lost through diarrhoea
    • Adsorbents may be taken to adsorb the toxins, the cause of diarrhoea. Take adsorbents 2 hours apart from other medications, as adsorbents also adsorb other medications, rendering the other medications ineffective. Adsorbents available include medicinal charcoal (Ultracarbon) and Smecta.
    • Medications to stop diarrhoea include Diphenoxylate/Atropine tablets (Lomotil) and Loperamide tablets (Imodium). These should not be taken if you experience fever, severe stomach cramps or bloody stools.
    • Lactobacillus preparations help to maintain good bacteria in the intestine, helping to shorten the duration of diarrhoea.
     
  3. Gastric Irritation
    • Antacids neutralise gastric acids that cause the gastric irritation. Antacids are available in tablets and mixtures. Some tablets need to be chewed or dispersed in water, instead of being swallowed whole.
     
  4. Motion Sickness
    • Dimenhydrinate helps to prevent motion sickness during travel. Take dimenhydrinate 30 minutes before the journey.
     
  5. Cough and Cold
    • Tablets for cough relief are available. Tablets are more convenient to bring on a trip, compared to cough mixtures.
    • Antihistamines can relieve runny nose. Combination products containing both antihistamines and decongestion help to clear blocked nose.
     
  6. Sore Throat
    • Sucking on lozenges can soothe throat irritation.
    • Serratiopeptidase (Danzen) relieves inflammation associated with sore throat.
     
  7. Anti-Malarials
    • Depending on your travel destination, you may need to take a course of anti-malaria medications to prevent being infected by malaria in an endemic area. Our pharmacist will be able to advice you on the options available. Inform the pharmacist on all the places you would be visiting as malaria risk and resistance to anti-malarial medication may vary across a country.
    • Do check with our pharmacist at least a week before your trip. Some medications need to be started a week before departure.
     
  8. Insect Repellent
    • Use of insect repellent is especially important in areas where mosquitos-spread diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, are endemic.
    • DEET (di-ethyltoluamide) containing repellents are considered the most effective repellent for travel to malarious areas. DEET however, is not suitable for young children. Citronella containing repellents may be used in young children instead.
    • Remember to reapply the insect repellent according to the product recommendations for continuous protection.
    • When using both insect repellent and sunscreen, apply insect repellent after applying sunscreen.
    • Insect repellent containing DEET may damage plastic items.
     
  9. Itch and Insect Bites
    • Calamine lotion may be used to relieve itch from insect bites.
    • Hydrocortisone cream may be used for more severe itch.
     
  10. Dry Skin and Lips
    • Moisturisers and lip balms prevent skin from drying in areas of low humidity.
     
  11. Sun Protection
    • Sunblock with at least SPF 15 (Sun Protection Factor) should be used for sufficient protection.
    • Remember to reapply the sunblock according to the product recommendations for continuous protection.
     

Carry enough of your regular prescription medicine in their original containers. Bring along a health card with your name, address, contact number of your family doctor, blood group, medications, vaccination records and drug allergies if any.

Click here for My Travel Medications Checklist. 

This checklist is not a substitute for medical advice. Inform our pharmacist if you have any drug allergies, medical conditions or taking other medications. Certain medications may not be suitable in some medical conditions.

Call 6355 3000 (NHGP) / 6663 6847 (NUP) to speak to our pharmacists or contact us at Ask-A-Pharmacist for more information on the appropriate travel medicines for your trip.

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