Author(s): Shand D
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Abstract The majority of health problems encountered in association with travel stem from pre-existing, perhaps latent, illness in the individual which may be exacerbated by the rigours and hazards of travel. It is essential that the advising physician understands the hazards that are likely to be encountered during travel in order that they may develop informed decisions regarding fitness for travel and give appropriate advice. In an occupational health setting, the employer has a responsibility to safeguard the health of their employees whilst travelling on behalf of the organisation and will also have to fund any treatment abroad or the cost of repatriation. The dictating factor in determining fitness to travel will often be fitness to travel by air, consequent to the reduced partial pressure of oxygen and pressure changes in-flight. The majority of significant health problems encountered during travel are attributable to coronary heart disease and detailed guidance exists to determine fitness for travel. For many health problems little if any evidence based guidance exists and decisions will therefore have to be based on an understanding of the hazards likely to be encountered during travel. Access to appropriate standards of medical care abroad and the difficulties and expense of repatriation, should this be necessary, are also important factors to consider in addition to the basic determination of fitness for travel itself. This paper outlines the main factors to be considered when assessing fitness to travel and also examines available guidance for some of the more commonly encountered conditions.
This article was published in Occup Med (Lond)
and referenced in Journal of Tourism & Hospitality