Living in the tropics is blissfully enjoyable. At times it does
get hot and yes, there are more insects than in the colder climates.
To really enjoy a visit to Cairns there are a few health care tips
to take into consideration. These are the same as for any tropical
destination in the world.
Due to the high temperatures and high humidity in North Queensland
it is essential to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Always
carry water with you and ensure that you have access to between
one and two litres per day. Soft drinks, alcohol and tea and coffee
tend to make you dehydrate faster. The water is safe to drink straight
from the tap in Australia however most major travel organisations
and health care professionals recommend drinking bottled water when
away from your home to avoid gastrointestinal problems.
Minor cuts and lacerations can become infected very fast in the
tropics. Any form of cut, scratch, laceration or bite should be
washed thoroughly and an antiseptic applied. Coral cuts are especially
prone to infections. All Great Barrier Reef tour operators have
a good supply of antiseptic creams and lotions on board the vessels.
If If a cut starts to swell, turns red and becomes sore or hot to
touch, seek medical advice quickly.
Further to the risk of infections is the fact that mosquitoes can
carry diseases anywhere. In the tropic mosquitoes and other biting
insects tend to thrive. Always keep insect repellent on you and
use it generously around sunrise and sunset. Burning mosquito coils
at night will help to keep insects outside if you are in a room
without screens. Always check with your hotel staff or tour operators
This is a major problem in the tropics. Depending on your skin you
can start to burn within a few minutes. Always cover yourself generously
with maximum strength sun block, repeating regularly, even on overcast
days. When visiting the Great Barrier Reef remember to use sun block
on the back of your legs, the back of your neck and the tops of
your feet - all places that are prone to sun burn but are easily
forgotten. Sun block is available in various forms including creams,
lotions, sprays and gel in Cairns. In Australia we have a campaign
called "Slip, slop and slap - slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen
and slap on a hat" to encourage children to become more aware of
sunburn and the resulting skin cancer.
Medical facitllies are generally very good in Australia. Apart from
being a safe country to travel in there are relatively few illnesses
that are likely to affect travellers.
has two major hospitals. One is a public facility called The Cairns
Base Hospital and the other is a private facility called the Calvary
Hospital. Both have emergency facilities that are considered world
are numerous surgeries and clinics located in the Cairns area. Many
of these have staff who are bilingual. A number of the CBD clinics
operate 24 hours per day and some Doctors will visit hotels anytime
day or night to call on sick tourists.
you are travelling on to other destinations the medical facilities
in Cairns can advise you as to what vaccinations may be required.
It is also wise to check on whether or not you can take prescribed
medication into your next country of travel. Many Asian countries
in particular have strong laws regarding the importation of prescription
drugs. It is better to check it out rather than face a fine or imprisonment.
people travel to Cairns to learn how to SCUBA dive. Before starting
a dive course you are required to undergo a comprehensive medical
examination. There are medical clinics set up in Cairns that specialise
in performing these examinations.
again check with your hotel for the closest Doctor or medical facility
during your stay. If you have specific medical requirements or a
medical condition ensure that someone travelling with you is aware
of your condition or make sure that you have a note in your personal
belongings that emergency services staff could easily find if necessary.