Over-60s might not be known as risk-takers, but new research has emerged that suggests otherwise, at least when it comes to travel.
Research commissioned by vaccine and pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, has revealed that travellers between the ages of 56 and 75 are not fully aware of the health risks associated with travel, as 49 per cent don’t get the necessary vaccinations before visiting countries that pose a risk of contracting diseases.
“Holidaymakers who prioritise itineraries over their own health are putting themselves and potentially those around them at risk, especially if they’re visiting high risk destinations” says travel health specialist Dr Bernard Hudson.
“The reality is, no one wants to be bedridden on holiday, have to take time off work when they return or spread a travel-related disease to their loved ones.”
Aussies regularly visit ‘at risk’ destinations including Southeast Asia, South and Central America and the Middle East without protection against diseases like hepatitis A, rabies, typhoid fever and yellow fever.
More worrying than just putting their own health at risk, according to the research 60 per cent of travellers in this age group don’t believe that there is a risk of spreading a travel-related disease after returning home.
“Depending on your destination you may need medication, vaccinations or other advice. Make it a top priority, just as you would your plane tickets and insurance,” Dr Hudson says.
There were mixed responses from the Travel at 60 community. While some were adamant they always checked with their travel doctors before a trip abroad, others were unsure if vaccines were really necessary.
“[There are] not many countries that you need vaccinations for anymore,” says Elda. “[I] can’t think of one off the top of my head. At least, not one that I’d choose to visit.”
Greg agrees, adding: “Why would you need vaccinations unless you were going into a Jungle or visiting sick People? Been to Asia and South America never had vacc’s. Kidding yourselves!”
Wendy, on the other hand, always checks in with her GP before a trip.
“I would rather be covered,” she said. “My niece and her husband went to South America. They came home and he ended up in hospital due to a bug they caught there. She has been told that what she had will always remain in her system.”