Our qualifications | What you should do before your trip | Travel vaccination as a statutory health insurance benefit | Our services | Staying healthy while travelling | Nutrition | Mosquito repellent | Links on travel medicine | PDF Travel medicine
Why prepare for a trip medically?
The stay in exotic countries, special climatic conditions, unfamiliar food and drinks, time change - all this means a challenge for your body. Chronically ill or elderly people, pregnant women and children are particularly stressed. Cholera, dengue fever, meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis A, malaria, typhoid and rabies are infectious diseases that can be transmitted through contaminated water, insect bites or animal bites. They occur only very rarely or not at all in our latitudes - but they do in the Mediterranean and tropical travel countries. Each country also has its own individual risks, which we often do not learn about in advance from the media.
General measures such as drinking enough, "cook it, peal it or leave it", but also travel medicine advice, vaccinations and the right medication when travelling help you to enjoy your stay without worries.
Therefore, use our travel medicine experience to prepare yourself optimally for your trip in terms of health.
Our qualification in travel medicine
Dr Ilka Knur and Dr Heiko Zürcher are certified travel medical health advisors. Through our work for embassy staff and the health examinations we conduct for visa applications, we are always up to date on the medical peculiarities of other countries. Travel medicine and preventive health care belong together and are therefore an essential part of our medical concept. We like to travel ourselves and therefore have a natural interest in the subject.
What should you do before your travels?
It is best to find out about possible health risks and assess your fitness to travel before booking a trip. It makes sense to have a precautionary health check, especially if you have a chronic illness.
- Specific risks include travelling with low hygienic standards ("trekking tour"), travelling to low civilised areas, closer contact with the population or longer stays.
- Use the internet for up-to-date information. We have compiled some links for you below.
- Put together a first-aid kit for yourself. We as your doctors or a pharmacist in your vicinity will be happy to help you with this.
- Please note that when travelling to some countries, you must carry a medical certificate for certain groups of medicines (e.g. opioids, insulin injections). Certain medicines abroad are offered with different dosages of the active ingredient despite having the same name.
- Check your vaccination certificate to make sure it is up to date.
- See your doctor about 6-8 weeks (at the latest 2 weeks!) before departure for individual vaccinations or medication.
Travel vaccination as a health insurance benefit
Since June 2007, several statutory health insurances have included vaccinations for private trips abroad in their catalogue of benefits, so that the previous self-pay benefits (IGeL) are now reimbursable in the form of so-called voluntary statutory benefits. Thus, many statutory health insurance funds reimburse the costs of important travel vaccinations, provided they are related to a private trip abroad. Both the vaccination service provided by the doctor and the vaccines are reimbursed. As a rule, insured persons only have to pay the statutory co-payment (10% of the vaccine price, min. EUR 5.00 and max. EUR 10.00) themselves. Vaccination costs for professional trips abroad must continue to be borne by the employer. Travel medical advice remains a self-pay service. The bill must be paid in advance at the doctor's office and the money is subsequently reimbursed by the health insurance fund according to its statutes. The amount of reimbursement varies depending on the health insurance fund, so you may want to inquire about the amount beforehand.
Eligible travel vaccinations against the following diseases:
- TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis)
- Yellow fever (The yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into certain countries. This applies in particular to certain yellow fever endemic areas in Africa and South America or for entry FROM these countries INTO a next country. It is only possible in a state-approved yellow fever vaccination centre).
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis (not reimbursed by all health insurance companies)
- Meningococcal meningitis
- Malaria prophylaxis (not reimbursed by all health insurance companies)
- medical vaccination
- Vaccine advice (not travel medicine advice)
- Any examinations required in connection with vaccination
Our travel medicine services
We advise, vaccinate, issue certificates and prescribe medication for your planned trip.
We offer advice on the following topics:
- First-aid kit
- Malaria prophylaxis
- Travel thrombosis
- Travel sickness
- Sun allergy
- Treatment of insect bites or animal bites
- Checking your current vaccination protection
- Drawing up the travel vaccination plan
- Issue of a vaccination card
- Refresher vaccination reminder service
- We have the vaccines for most vaccinations in stock at the practice.
We order special vaccines on demand.
- Fitness for travel
- Carrying medicines
- Carrying insulin syringes for diabetes patients
- Carrying opioid painkillers
- Travel cancellation certificate
- Suitability for diving
Stay healthy while travelling: the ten "golden rules" for a healthy trip!
- Good mosquito and insect protection
- Consistently maintain food and drinking water hygiene
- No unprotected intimate contact
- Do not bathe in tropical waters
- Do not walk barefoot
- Good sun and heat protection (headgear!)
- Carry a sensible first-aid kit
- Malaria prophylaxis: Take tablets consistently
- Take the address of the local embassy with you for emergencies
- Get individual travel medicine advice before the trip and take preventive measures (e.g. vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis).
In order to minimise any health risk posed by the food chain, you should be careful when choosing and preparing food and follow some rules that are particularly important in tropical countries and countries with a low level of hygiene:
- If possible, only eat food that has been cooked or fried through (i.e. no medium-rare steak if possible).
- Do not drink tap water, but use the inexpensive, factory-sealed mineral water bottles available everywhere.
- If possible, only eat fruits and vegetables that can be peeled - fruits and vegetables are often contaminated with germs from fertilisation that cannot be removed by merely washing them.
- Pay special attention to general hygiene in the domestic area.
- Be careful with ice cubes in restaurants! These are often made from tap water and can contain a variety of pathogens that are not killed by freezing.
- As it is very easy to lose fluids and salt in warm countries due to increased sweating, you should remember to drink as much as possible (2-3 litres/day and more, depending on whether and how you exert yourself physically).
- Since diarrhoeal diseases often develop due to pathogens that multiply quickly in food in tropical climates, it is advisable to store food that has not been completely consumed in the refrigerator - and it should also be eaten as soon as possible.
Mosquitoes very often transmit the pathogens of serious diseases (e.g. malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, etc.). Therefore, it is important to follow certain rules of conduct in order to protect oneself from a possible infection via this transmission route:
- The best protection against mosquitoes is to have as few of them around as possible. Since they prefer to breed near small lakes, ponds and water points of all kinds (small fish ponds, ornamental pools, etc.), care should be taken to remove them as far as possible from the home.
- In general, most mosquitoes are nocturnal (but the mosquito that transmits dengue fever is diurnal!).
- It would be favourable to stay in mosquito-protected, air-conditioned rooms from dusk until dawn, if possible. However, as this is generally not feasible, in the evening outdoors on the balcony or by the pool one should make sure to keep as much skin covered by clothing as possible in order to deprive the mosquitoes of their "attack surface".
- Before going to bed, make sure that there are no mosquitoes in the room.
- A mosquito repellent for hands and face (e.g. No Bite) makes sense. However, caution is advised when handling such preparations, especially with children. Regular and extensive applications and contact of these products with mucous membranes should be avoided.
- Commercially available insecticides, which are sold as aerosols, incense coils ("mosquito coils"), candles, etc., are only recommended to a limited extent, as their safety has not been proven (toxicity).
- If there is air conditioning in your house or flat, you should set it to the lowest possible temperature, as mosquitoes generally avoid cool rooms.
- Mosquito nets are always appropriate when satisfactory mosquito protection cannot be achieved in any other way. Especially infants and small children should be protected by a mosquito net. Additional impregnation of the net can be considered. It is generally not recommended, as the health safety in the long run has not been proven.
- For long-term stays, gauze should be placed in front of windows and doors. This prevents mosquitoes from entering and improves the ventilation of the room, as doors and windows can remain open without hesitation.
Links on the topic of travel medicine
The Federal Foreign Office offers travel and country information on its site. In addition to medical advice, this includes customs regulations and entry requirements. You can also find the addresses of the German consulates abroad there.
The German Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Tropenmedizin und Internationale Gesundheit e.V.) offers information and tips on tropical and travel medicine topics on its website.
The Centre for Travel Medicine and Fit for Travel offer you up-to-date travel medicine information.
The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZGA) offers good general advice and checklists for travel planning on its travel health page. The information is part of the campaign 'Don't give AIDS a chance'.
The Robert Koch Institute, which carries out the federal health reporting in cooperation with the Federal Statistical Office, continuously publishes thematic issues on important health topics.