Traveling out of the country can be an exciting adventure. A more exotic destination means more potential for risk to your health and difficulty finding emergency medical care.
Why not prepare your travel health details as carefully as your itinerary? A happy, healthy and safe excursion could depend on using Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld of the Fox News Channel’s 8 Travel Tips for an overseas vacation.
1. Have current immunizations.
Current immunizations recommended for every country are available from the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/travel. The CDC site has great information on the various ways to guard your health while traveling abroad.
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.
Local fruits and vegetables can also harbor parasites and bacteria that can make a healthy traveler ill. For that reason, the CDC advises not buying food from street vendors. Dr. Rosenfeld proposes skinning raw fruits and vegetables before eating. Always be sure that your food is cooked fully.
4. Take additional medication with you.
Your vacation should be fun. The anxiety you would undoubtedly feel by running out of necessary prescription medication could ruin good memories of the trip. Do yourself a favor and avoid that anxiety by packing extra medication beyond the number of days you plan to be away. Murphy’s Law exists; negate it by being 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. Purchase travel insurance.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see into the future? But because we can’t, buy a cushion of comfort in the form of travel insurance. The more expensive the trip, the more important this investment could be.
7. Do not swim in still bodies of water.
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. Combat mosquitoes.
Bring insect repellent including DEET of 20-50% for adults and children over 2 months. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants and spray them as well. Wear sunscreen first then apply the repellent and wash off again before going to bed. These precautions will help fight off mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Mosquitoes transmitting malaria are most active at dusk and dawn while daytime mosquitoes tend to transmit dengue fever.
If a member of your party is unfortunate enough to have a serious injury or illness abroad, seek help from one of several organizations available to help like MEDEX at www.medexassist.com or The International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene which both have websites and provide travel directories of clinics.
Travel healthy by being prepared. Take pleasure in knowing you are ready for the unexpected which of course means the unexpected can’t happen.