All posts by Alison Curran

Coronavirus Travel Advice – How to Avoid Covid-19 while Travelling

This is a rapidly evolving and ever changing situation which is causing major concern to health authorities throughout the world. The ongoing outbreak began in China but infections have been reported in several other countries. Countries where COVID-19 is circulating in the community include China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and the Northern Italian regions of Lombardy, Piemonte, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

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WHAT IS A CORONAVIRUS?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

TMB student travel bundle offer

COVID-19 TRAVEL ADVICE

As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we advise that you visit the following websites regularly for further details if you are planning to travel for the latest updates.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
The World Health Organisation
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre

You can download the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Travel Wise App which helps Irish citizens to stay safe and informed while travelling.

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HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF WHEN I TRAVEL?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand rub
  • If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue away into a closed bin, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed (bent) elbow.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who you know has cold or flu symptoms.
  • Do not rely on surgical masks to reduce transmission, they are not effective

Avoiding the flu 2

WHAT  IF I HAVE COME INTO CONTACT WITH A PERSON DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?

If you ARE UNWELL AND develop symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath you should:

  • Stay at home / in your hotel
  • Do Not go out to public places
  • Do Not go to college/university or work
  • Please phone your GP or emergency department for medical advice, rather than turning up in person
  • Make sure that, when you phone, you mention that you have recently travelled AND had exposure. These health services will arrange for you to get medical help.

If YOU ARE WELL (no fever, cough or shortness of breath)

Stay at home / indoors in your hotel and contact the local Public Health Department or check for updates with the sources listed below for further advice. It can take symptoms up to 14 days to present. If you do develop any symptoms you should seek medical advice by phone, rather than turning up in person.

Tips for Purchasing the Right Travel Insurance Cover 3

STILL WORRIED? 

Our experts will consult with you on the coronavirus outbreak & how it will affect your travel plans. Be aware that wherever you travel there are vaccine preventable diseases such as flu. It’s important you are protected against these along with being aware of any outbreaks that may affect your trip. Book a consultation with us today if you have any concerns about your upcoming trip.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
The World Health Organisation
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre

Eco-friendly Holiday Tips – Advice for Greener Travel

Eco-friendly Holiday Tips – Advice for Greener Travel

As with here at home, nature should be greatly respected when you travel. Not only out of respect for the local wildlife & community, but so future tourists can enjoy it too! Here are a few eco-friendly holiday tips to help you properly respect the natural beauty of your travel destinations.

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LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS

Many countries don’t have the reliable waste amenities we have here in Ireland; regular rubbish collection, recycling facilities and liberally distributed trash cans. You may even find yourself in a jungle, a reserve or up a mountain at some point on our adventure! Despite what you might see others doing, always carry a bag with you to gather up and dispose of your rubbish responsibly – even one compartment on a backpack will do. Smokers can carry a cigarette ash pouch with them – it extinguishes butts and conceals any bad smells inside until you’re able to safely dispose of them. Wherever you go, make sure you don’t leave anything but footprints behind!

This is made easier with our Eco Cups . This will prevent you using disposable paper cups for your teas & coffees. Also, some coffee shops will even offer you a discount for bringing your own cup! Buy your Eco Cup here https://travelshop.ie/product/collapsible-eco-cup-350ml

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BE PLASTIC AWARE

Some countries are making huge strides in the prevention of plastic waste – Kenya, Nepal and Morocco have all implemented single use plastic bans. Of course, many places have yet to take such action. As you would in Ireland, do your best to avoid buying single use plastics when getting drinks and snacks, and make sure you’re not accepting any plastic bags if you’re able to carry your items. Even recyclable plastics aren’t properly dealt with by most countries, including Ireland, so it’s best to avoid them entirely if you can. To prevent using single waste plastic you can opt for a metal collapsible straw or a filtered reusable bottle. Collapsible straws are easy to travel with as they fold into small cases and the reusable water bottle, with a built-in filter, means you will have safe drinking water wherever you go, without any single use plastic! Buy your water filter bottle here https://travelshop.ie/product/aqua-pure-traveller-water-filter-bottle Buy your collapsible straw here https://travelshop.ie/product/collapsible-eco-straw

TOILET PAPER & SANITARY PRODUCTS

In many countries, people tend to use water instead of tissue paper to finish up after visiting the toilet (think bidet). This means sewage pipes aren’t built to handle huge amounts of paper and other things being flushed down them. Using paper or flushing sanitary products where the facilities are not built for it can cause blockages and unsanitary overflows. Do as the locals do so you don’t end up causing a spill and potentially spreading disease on that special place you’re visiting. Travellers who menstruate should take care to dispose of pads/tampons correctly. You may need to carry used products with you until you find a suitable place to throw them away.

Some small disposable bags will come in handy. You could also get familiar with reusables like the Mooncup in advance of travel to save on carrying & disposing of sanitary products.

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CAREFUL WITH CHEMICALS

We don’t tend to worry about the products we use when washing our hands or taking a shower, but these products can be very toxic to plants and animal life. Eco-friendly alternatives will ensure you’re not polluting whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Take a biodegradable all-over wash on your travels to keep everything clean without damaging local environments. Buy your Biodegradable all over wash here https://travelshop.ie/product/lifeventure-purpose-soap

There is one unavoidable use of chemicals you should definitely not cut corners with, however – repellents and insecticides. These can protect you from many diseases spread by mosquitoes & biting insects, just make sure you store them carefully and avoid over-use. Buy your repellents here https://travelshop.ie/insect-repellents.

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CHOOSE WILDLIFE EXPERIENCES CAREFULLY

All over the world nature is being exploited for the benefit of tourism, be that overpopulation in the Galapagos, frozen sewage building up on Everest or illegal ‘human safaris’ in the Andaman Islands. Before you pay for a nature & wildlife experience do your research to ensure it’s ethical and a benefit to the planet’s flora and fauna. Everywhere you go, you will find organisations doing excellent work that benefits the local wildlife. Visiting them supports their efforts. In some places, tourism has decimated local wildlife and tourism is now banned – respect these bans while the local wildlife can recover. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Travel Health for Kids – 10 Top Tips

Travel Health for Kids – 10 Top Tips
learn from travelling, travelling with kids, childhood development, building confidence in kids, travelling as a family

Traveling with children adds a whole new exciting dimension to your adventure. Children find wonder in everything and inspire us adults to do the same. But they do come with a unique set of risks to consider and prepare for! Here are up our top 10 tips to help with travel health for kids to keep your family travel adventure fun and healthy.

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1. SAFE DRINKING WATER

Water-borne diseases are very common and tap water will be unsafe to drink in many popular destinations. So, think about how you will get the kids to drink safe water, and avoid contaminated sources. The easiest option would be to take a purification device, such as the AquaPure Bottle. Bottles like these filters out viruses, bacteria and parasites. The special filter is built into a convenient bottle that you can fill up from any freshwater source and drink immediately. Using an AquaPure bottle also means you are reducing your single use plastic waste. Buy your AquaPure Bottle here https://travelshop.ie/product/aqua-pure-traveller-water-filter-bottle.

2. MESS MANAGEMENT

Kids inevitably come with spillages and grime so always pack quick-drying clothing! Consider taking some biodegradable clothing wash or all-purpose travel cleanser, so you can wash as you go.  Buy your all purpose biodegradable wash here https://travelshop.ie/product/lifeventure-purpose-soap

safari in South Africa

3. TEACH ANIMAL SAFETY

Kids are much more likely to get have run-ins with animals than adults. Children can be curious, provocative and unaware of the dangers. Rabies is endemic in many parts of the world, and it may not always be obvious that an animal is carrying the disease. Keep them well away from animals and talk to them about the consequences before and during the trip. Kids will not always say if they have been bitten especially if the wound is small and they are worried they might be in big trouble. Check them over regularly for any potential bites & scratches. Always treat an animal bite abroad as an emergency and consider pre-exposure vaccinations for rabies which could be life- saving. Don’t forget the other vaccines too which greatly increase the chances of a stress-free healthy trip! You can book a travel consultation here https://www.tmb.ie/clinics

Travelling with Children

4. WOUND CARE AND ILLNESS ABROAD

Younger children are prone to cuts and bruises, especially due to exploring on holiday! They can put random things in their mouths/nose/ears, can pick up a bout of diarrhoea, and on average kids have 8 colds a year. Take a good medical kit that includes plenty of wound care, antiseptics, rehydration treatment (children get dehydrated VERY quickly), child friendly medications. You should always take a thermometer, so you can keep track of any fevers and know if/when to seek medical help. Buy your medical kit here https://travelshop.ie/first-aid-kits

Courtesy of SafeFood.EU

Courtesy of SafeFood.EU

5. PRACTICE HAND HYGIENE

Most bugs are spread via contaminated hands. Unfortunately, many kids deeply dislike washing their hands and the younger they are the harder it can be to get them to do it! SafeFood.Eu have some fantastic tools with character cut outs, videos, and stories to help make this fun. Hand washing with soap and water should always be step one but hand sanitisers are very helpful too, just be careful of ingestion! Take plenty along including mini versions that are easy to slip into hand luggage & day bags.

6. PREPARE FOR BREAKAGES

Kids break stuff all the time. Duct tape solves a lot of problems when it comes to children and the trail of destruction that they can leave behind: broken toys, rips in clothing, bags or mosquito nets…. bring a big roll, you’ll be surprised how useful it can be!

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7. ENTERTAINMENT ON THE GO

Take easy-to-pack toys that spark creativity and maintain attention rather than ones that will quickly lead to a loss of interest. Good (and recyclable) options are sticker books, activity note pads, and colouring books. Also be creative – not all toys are toys. Use the things you find along the way.  Do not take the most special prized toy – it WILL get lost and if it doesn’t you will spend the whole trip worrying that it will!

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8. KEEP UP A SLEEP ROUTINE

Kids of all ages tend to fall asleep at strange times in new places. Try and get a good rhythm going as soon as you can, everyone will have a better time when they’ve had enough sleep. Save yourself from being trapped in uncomfortable positions – invest in inflatable travel pillows. This little bit of luxury might just free up your shoulders and prevent a few aches & pains. Small travel towels are compact to carry and can double up as a convenient cosy blanket for those long plane or coach rides. This fabulous giraffe pillow is on sale for €6! https://travelshop.ie/product/giraffe-neck-pillow. We have lots of adult options too!

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9. SKIN CARE IN THE SUN

Kids’ delicate skin can be damaged easily in the sun. Take a high factor sunscreen and soothing aftersun. Keep them in the shade as much as possible and encourage use of hats and sunglasses. Don’t forget it doesn’t have to be super sunny for there to be high UV radiation and little ones should be covered up as much as possible.

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10. PREVENT INSECT BITES

It’s safest to avoid malaria areas when traveling with children, but if it can’t be avoided make sure you are prepared with the correct malaria tablets for your children. Children of all ages can take them.

Even if malaria is not present at your destination, mosquitoes & insects can carry a number of other diseases and be very uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid bites. DEET is safe to use from the age of two months (and ultimately much safer than getting malaria or dengue fever for instance, which can be devastating for children). There are a range of other effective insect repellents, too, which may be strong enough in non-malaria areas or that are safe for even younger children. Other insect bite avoidance measures to take include; using treated mosquito nets, using plug in room repellents before bed, and using insecticides on clothing. Just avoid any chemicals being ingested or getting in the eyes. We stock a wide range of repellents, plug ins and nets on Travelshop.ie and in our Base Centres: Grafton Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dundrum and Galway.

the different types of travellers

Book a travel health consultation with a Tropical Medical Bureau expert to discuss all the malaria tablet & bite avoidance measures recommended for your family.
Children are always welcome at the Tropical Medical Bureau and our travel health Doctors & Nurses will tailor their advice to your family. We’ll go through your individual trip and circumstances, making recommendations on how to keep everyone in the family safe & healthy. We are a friendly bunch and love to see families going away to enjoy themselves & broaden their experience of the world. Let’s make it the best experience possible!

Top Travel Destinations of 2019

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Top Travel Destinations of 2019

Each year, Tropical Medical Bureau sees an average of 25,000 patients, all of whom benefit from the expertise of our highly experienced clinic staff.
And, with the end of 2019 drawing near, we have put together a list of the most popular destinations of the year.

Known for its stunning beaches, amazing street food and fascinating culture, it comes as no surprise that Thailand was the most travelled to destination by TMB patients in 2019, with Vietnam coming in second place and India in third (read on below for the full list).?

Thailand

Thailand was the of the most popular destinations this year for travellers, with no surprise! It has become known for its white sandy beaches, endless variety of street food and amazing culture to name but a few of it’s charms.  

Though there are no compulsory vaccines required for entry into the country when travelling from Ireland; if your passport shows that you have travelled via a yellow fever endemic country then the immigration authorities in Thailand will usually check to see that you have received adequate vaccination cover against that disease. There are also a number of recommended vaccines for travelling to Thailand, so make sure you book a consult at any TMB clinic to find out how at risk you’ll be to the diseases present in Thailand.

Find out the recommended vaccines for Thailand here.

Vietnam

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Vietnam is one of the top countries to visit for the ‘foodies’ among us! You can enjoy the endless array of classic Vietnamese dishes such as pho bo, gỏi cuốn and bahn mi. Stunning landscapes, adventure sports, history & inviting culture make Vietnam one of your top spots again.

There are no compulsory vaccinations for Vietnam required by law for travellers from Western Europe but certain vaccinations are strongly recommended. 

Find out the recommended vaccines for Vietnam here.

Indonesia

With over 17,000 gorgeous islands to explore, it’s no surprise that Indonesia has made the top 5 of 2019. This country is home to incredible landscapes and breath taking beaches. The most popular Indonesian city with TMB travellers in 2019 was Bali, but Indonesia without a doubt has many more delightful stop offs to add to your travel wish list.  

The general recommend vaccinations for Indonesia for the standard Tourist include cover against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Poliomyelitis. Travellers planning a more rural or extensive trip may need to consider taking cover against diseases like Hepatitis B, Japanese B Encephalitis, Rabies. 

Find out the recommended vaccines for Indonesia here.

South Africa

FLu vaccine every year

South Africa has recently become very popular amongst Irish travellers. If we’re not enjoying the white sandy beaches of Cape Town, we’re experiencing the wonder of the Garden Route drive or looking out for the big 5 on safari.

There are no compulsory vaccinations for South Africa required for travellers from Western Europe to gain entry. However, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate could be required for travellers coming from some endemic zones in Africa and the Americas.

Find out the recommended vaccines for South Africa here.

Brazil

Ko Phi Phi of Thailand
Brazil is the largest country in South America and certainly the most popular amongst Irish Travellers in 2019. With its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife it is definitely the ideal destination for travellers of all ages.

The Brazilian Embassy advises all travellers to Brazil to have vaccination cover against Yellow Fever but it is wise to also strongly consider some other vaccines. 

Find out the recommended vaccines for Brazil here.

That’s your top 5 for 2019 – where are you off to next year?!

Wherever you’re planning adventures for in 2020, visit our website or your local TMB clinic to book a travel health consult to get you ready for all the health risks.