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You don’t have a lot to worry about health-wise on a trip to Sydney. Hygiene standards are high, hospitals are modern, and doctors and dentists are all well educated. No vaccinations are needed to enter the country unless you have been in a yellow fever danger zone—that is, South America or Africa—in the past six days.

Ask your doctor to recommend treatments for common problems like travel sickness, insomnia, jet lag, constipation, and diarrhea. Drink plenty of water on the plane as the air-conditioning dehydrates you quickly.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET SICK AWAY FROM HOME

If you worry about getting sick away from home, you may want to consider medical travel insurance (see the section on insurance). In most cases, however, your existing health plan will provide all the coverage you need. Be sure to carry your identification card in your wallet.

If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before your departure. For conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, or heart problems, wear a Medic Alert Identification Tag (tel. 800/825-3785; www.medicalert.org), which will immediately alert doctors to your condition and give them access to your records through Medic Alert’s 24-hour hot line. Membership is U.S.$35, then U.S.$15 for annual renewal.

Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage. Carry written prescriptions in generic, not brand-name form, and dispense all prescription medications from their original labeled vials. Also bring along copies of your prescriptions in case you lose your pills or run out. Usually a three-month supply is the maximum quantity of prescription drugs you are permitted to carry in Australia, so if you are carrying large amounts of medication, contact the Australian embassy or consulate in your home country to check that your supply does not exceed the maximum. If you need more medication while you’re in Australia, you will need to get an Australian doctor to write the prescription for you.

If you wear contact lenses, pack an extra pair in case you lose one.

Contact the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) (tel. 716/754-4883 in the U.S. or 516/836-0102 in Canada; www.sentex.net/~iamat). This organization offers tips on travel and health concerns in the countries you’ll be visiting, and lists many local English-speaking doctors. Membership is free. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (tel. 404/639-3311; www.cdc.gov) provides up-to-date information on necessary vaccines and health hazards by region or country. By mail, their booklet is $20 (call tel. 202/512-1800 to order it); on the Internet, it’s free. When you’re abroad, any local consulate can provide a list of area doctors who speak English, which just about all of them do in Australia. If you do get sick, you may want to ask the concierge at your hotel to recommend a local doctor—even his or her own. If you can’t find a doctor who can help you right away, try the emergency room at the local hospital. Doctors are listed under "M" for Medical Practitioners in the Australian Yellow Pages.

Warning: Sunshine May Be Hazardous To Your Health

There’s a reason Australians have the world’s highest death rate from skin cancer—the country’s intense sunlight. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the first few days of your trip and, thereafter, from 11am to 3pm in summer and 10am to 2pm in winter. Keep in mind that scattered UV rays that bounce off .

 

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