8 Easy Ways To Ensure Healthy Travel Out Of The Country
By: Kalynn Amadio
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 updated shots.
Check with the CDC on the Internet at www.cdc.gov/travel and specify which countries you will be traveling, to check on the current immunizations required. This site also has many suggestions on staying healthy during your 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 an at least 1 minute will kill any diseases that could cause illness.
3. Try and peel vegetables and fruits before eating them.
Locally grown foods, like the water, can carry diseases that cause illness to a traveler. Dr. Rosenfeld advises removing the skin from raw vegetables and fruits before eating, while the CDC suggests not purchasing food from street vendors. Only eat food that has been fully cooked.
4. Take additional 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.
Build a first aid kit to pack in your suitcase. A smaller kit that you can keep with you is a good idea as well. In your suitcase kit, include anti-diarrheal medication, mild laxative and anti-motion pills as your destination dictates. You should also include antihistamine and decongestant, anti-fungal and hydro cortisone cream in 1% solution. The kit that stays with you through your day should include anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotic cream and the typical assortment of alcohol pads, latex gloves, band aids and moleskin for blisters.
6. Purchase travel insurance.
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. 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. Be mosquito aware.
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 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 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.