A vacation overseas is an exciting event. Exotic locations can mean a greater risk for potential health problems and a larger chance of not finding adequate medical services.
Plan your travel health as carefully as your travel itinerary with the Fox News Channel’s Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld suggested 8 Tips for Travel that will ensure a safe, happy and healthy vacation.
1. Have updated shots.
The CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel has information on suggested immunizations for every country you may be planning to travel. They also have suggested precautions for a healthy trip.
2. Do not brush your teeth with tap water.
Local water sometimes carries parasites and bacteria that can make a non-local ill. For that reason, don’t brush with tap water use bottled water instead. In lieu of bottled water, boiling local tap water for a at least 1 minute will kill any diseases that could cause illness.
3. Peel fruits and vegetables, don’t eat them raw with the skin.
Like local water, food can also carry disease for the traveler. The CDC recommends not eating food purchased from street vendors. Dr. Rosenfeld suggests peeling fresh fruits and vegetables, not eating the raw skin. Make sure any food you eat is fully cooked.
4. Take additional prescription medication with you.
There is nothing worse than running out of needed medication while on vacation. Prepare for the unexpected by taking more medication with you than the number of days you actually expect to travel. Delays and the unexpected can happen, so be prepared.
5. Create a travel first aid kit.
Create one or two first aid kits. Why two kits? One that you keep in your suitcase and the other to keep on your person. In the suitcase include anti-motion, anti-diarrheal medications and a mild laxative. A package of preferred decongestant and antihistamine should be included with 1% hydro cortisone and anti-fungal creams. In your personal kit keep latex gloves, band aids, moleskin for blisters and antibiotic cream. Anti-inflammatory medicine of your choice and throat lozenges are important as well.
6. Make a travel insurance investment.
Because no one has a crystal ball, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance so an anticipated trip isn’t a disappointment financially as well as emotionally when something goes wrong.
7. No swimming in lakes or ponds.
Parasitic and bacterial diseases can exist in lakes and ponds as they can in local drinking water. Avoid swimming in still bodies of water. Swimming in the ocean or in chlorinated swimming pools is okay. But swimming in a local river should be avoided.
8. Prepare for mosquitoes.
Make sure you pack sunscreen and insect repellent. Repellent should include DEET in a 20-50% concentration which is acceptable for children over 2 months and adults according to the CDC. Apply your sunscreen first then spray the repellent on your body and clothing. Wear long sleeves and pants when possible to avoid mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Mosquitoes that transmit malaria are more active at dusk and again at dawn. Those that bite during the day tend to carry dengue fever.
If an injury or unexpected illness hits a member of your traveling party, seek help from one or more organizations that specialize in this type of situation. The International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene both have websites and can give you information on clinics in your area. MEDEX at http://www.medexassist.com is another organization referenced on the CDC website that is worth checking into.
So be prepared and travel healthy. Enjoy your vacation with no anxiety because you know you’ve already prepared for the worst. And of course, if you are prepared, the worst will never happen.