Staying healthy while traveling is a fairly simple task to accomplish. A few precautionary steps to take prior to departure and a few common sense tips to follow while traveling are the only requirements needed.
Health Tips Prior To Departure
Visit your physician at least six weeks prior to departure. Some vaccinations may require the passage of a few weeks before they are fully effective.
Vaccinations to consider getting: Hepatitis A or B, Influenza, Typhoid Fever, Yellow Fever, Meningococcal meningitis, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, and Varicella.
Booster vaccinations to consider getting: Tetanus, Measles-Mumps-Rubella, and Polio.
Have a complete physical to check the status of your health and any changes that may be needed to your current medications.
Consult your physician about possible complications that you might encounter due to health conditions such as respiratory problems, high blood pressure, or cardiac problems, particularly if you will be visiting locations with high altitudes or poor air quality.
Visit the dentist and complete any necessary dental work.
Refill any prescriptions that you will need to take with you on the trip. Plan to carry additional medicine in the event that you lose some of your medication while traveling. Be sure to carry your medication in the original containers. Many countries have very strict drug regulations. Original containers and identifying documentation will help to avoid any complications that may arise from your possession of medications.
Acquire and wear a medical alert bracelet for any life threatening diseases that you might have.
Prepare a card to carry that lists any pertinent medical information such as primary doctor, all current medication, etc. Remember to list any allergies that you might have, including food or insect allergies.
Prepare a small first aid kit that you can carry with you on the trip. The kit should include such things as prescriptions, pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, bug repellent, antacids, and sunscreen.
Update your eyewear if necessary. Plan to take a second pair if available.
Acquire medication that may be needed in the country that you are going to visit. For example, if there is a risk of malaria in that country, ask your physician for a prescription for preventative medicine.
Check into your medical insurance coverage and understand what procedures or policies you will need to follow should you need medical treatment while abroad.
The types of vaccinations that you get will depend on two things. First, the physician will need to review your medical history. Second, the physician will take into consideration the country or countries that you will be traveling though on your trip.
Health Tips While Traveling
Select your meals carefully while traveling.
Avoid food served by street vendors.
Choose heated, steaming meals as opposed to tepid food.
When eating raw fruits or vegetables, make the selection or peel the fruit yourself.
Avoid uncooked seafood.
Avoid dairy foods that have not been pasteurized.
Avoid beverages that contain ice cubes or crushed ice.
Select water packaged commercially in sealed bottles rather than fresh water from open containers.
Select carbonated beverages over water that has not been commercially packaged.
Remember to take any preventative medicine that your physician has prescribed for you.
Avoid swimming in bodies of fresh water such as lakes and streams, particularly in countries such as Africa.
Remember to use plenty of bug repellent if you are visiting a country or countries that have a high incidence of mosquito-borne diseases.
Use bed netting at night if you are visiting a country or countries that have a high incidence of mosquito-borne diseases.
Avoid overcrowded transportation. It is simply better to wait a short while for the nest vehicle.
Use seatbelts when possible and motorcycle helmets when riding a motorcycle.
Avoid driving in an unfamiliar area unless you have a local map available.
Avoid driving at night, especially if you have night vision.
Carry the phone number of the U. S. Embassy with you in the event that you need medical treatment while abroad. They will be able to provide you with contact information for local doctors, dentists, etc.
Avoiding diarrhea is probably the most important facet of watching what you eat and drink while on vacation. Almost nothing can incapacitate someone quicker than a bad case of diarrhea that dehydrates and weakens the immune system quickly.
Health Tips Upon Arrival Home
Continue to take any preventative medications that were prescribed for you for the entire recommended time.
Visit your physician immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms of disease or medical problems.
Once you have arrived home, use your common sense to review your health status. If everything is normal, then, most likely, you have nothing to worry about. When in doubt, make that phone call to the physician and ask questions. A healthy trip is a happy trip. Plan ahead and have fun!
Copyright © 2006, Ian White Access 2000 Pty Ltd
by Ian White