10 March 2007

Travel health

This is my first posting for a while.

On Monday afternoon this week I returned from meetings in a rather cold Geneva, Switzerland. I started coughing in the taxi from the airport and things went rapidly downhill from there - I will spare readers the gory details. I simply note that have yet to make it into the office and suspect that I won't be competing with my dog Morgan in the annual Titahi Bay Canine Obedience Club ribbon trial tomorrow - my wife, Wendy, might take him though. The doctor concluded that I had managed to catch a good dose of influenza, probably on the flights over.

As I usually have an annual 'flu shot ahead of the Southern Hemisphere winter, have made sure that other vaccinations are up to date and carry a few basic medications with me, catching a virus is rather frustrating. This has got me looking at the fine print at the back of the itinerary prepared by the travel agent. They list two web sites that are worth looking at:

Both have a good range of health information for travellers.

Previous health problems while travelling have usually involved me catching heavy colds. Food poisoning caught in Samoa and Tonga has probably been the most serious for me but a full recovery was made relatively rapidly in both cases. Friends have not been so fortunate and I have heard some serious sagas involving tropical parasites.

This week I have also had the results back from a series of hearing tests. Suffice to say that they help explain why I have never really had a great appreciation of music, particularly of the modern pop kind!

So much for my individual health issues. On a wider scale, I am very conscious of what a devastating impact viruses can have on the community in general and the role that international air transport in particular can play in their spread. SARS and avian 'flu have provided us with warnings in recent years. A colleague of mine has spent much of the last two years involved in the transport aspects of contingency planning as New Zealand prepares for what many regard as inevitable pandemics.

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