It’s summer vacation season. Whether you are heading for Sa7el, or are even lucky enough to go to Russia to support the national football team, planning for a safe and healthy trip is essential by following for the 3 P’s of safe and healthy travel. Some of these tips may only apply to international trips that include longer flights to certain destinations, seek the advice of your doctor.
Before traveling, it is recommended to visit a doctor familiar with travel medicine, especially if you have any special health needs (babies and small children, pregnant women, people with disabilities or weakened immune systems). You may want to arrange vaccinations or medications to protect against diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid or malaria. Some countries legally require travelers to take certain vaccinations, such as yellow fever. As vaccines need some time to work, it is best to see your doctor 4-8 weeks before you go.
Be sure to give your doctor all the information needed to make recommendations such as:
- Where you are traveling within a country.
- The length of your trip.
- What types of activities you might do.
- Other personal matters such as your age, medical and vaccine history, and current medical state.
Pay attention to your health during your trip. Be careful with food and water. The most common travel-related illnesses are gastrointestinal diseases usually picked up from poorly prepared foods or untreated water. To avoid diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting associated with these illnesses:
- Use bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.
- Eat thick-skinned fruit and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges and mandarins.
- Don’t buy food from street vendors
Additionally, you should:
- Use sunscreen and insect repellent as directed
- Wear a seatbelt
- Wear protective gear when engaging in adventure activities
- Respect your host country and its people by following local laws and customs
Finally, pay attention to your health when you come back home. If you are not feeling well, you should see a doctor and mention that you have recently traveled.
Source: CDC Travelers’ Health Website
Use this list to help you think of things to pack in your travel health kit. Be sure to think about where you are going and whether you will have access to health items and supplies.
- Prescription medicines you usually take
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Antidiarrheal medication
- Decongestant, alone or in combination with antihistamine
- Anti-motion sickness medication
- Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
- Mild laxative
- Cough suppressant/expectorant
- Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
- 1% hydrocortisone cream
Other important items:
- Hand sanitizer
- Insect Repellant that contains at least 30% DEET
- Sunscreen that protects against UVA & UVB
- Basic first-aid items (gauze, elastic bandages, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton)
- Digital thermometer
Plan ahead for illnesses or other medical issues. Airplane travel, especially flights longer than 8 hours may increase the risk for blood clots also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
You are at increased risk for DVT if you:
- Have had DVT in the past
- Have had recent surgery
- Are pregnant
- Are a smoker
- Are taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Have cancer, restricted movement, or a blood-clotting problem
If you have any of these conditions, seek your doctor’s advice before traveling on how to prevent DVT during the flight. People at higher risk for DVT may be prescribed medication during travel.