Published: July 31, 2007
Updated: Aug. 28, 2008
Below are tips for reducing your risk of infection when you travel locally, nationally, or abroad. Good preparation can save you a lot of headache down the road.
Remember Hepatitis A is on the rise not only abroad but also locally and nationally as well. This is a liver disease that is acquired through consuming contaminated food and/or beverages. A vaccine offers long-term protection.
Think again. These fashion trends can put you at risk of serious or life threatening illnesses from nonsterile equipment or techniques. Find other ways to express yourself, or if you must, make sure all equipment is sterile or disposable and that sterile techniques are used.
Don’t forget the most important thing, your health. Consult with a travel medicine provider. Risks of many accidents and illnesses can be prevented with knowledge, vaccines, and medications.
Travel providers can identify this risk and administer polio booster if necessary.
Think twice. There may be serious risks at your destination, and preventative vaccines and medicines may be contraindicated due to pregnancy. If travel is unavoidable see a travel medicine provider as soon as possible.
People may be unaware that malaria is a potentially life threatening, but preventable risk associated with travel. Selecting the wrong antimalarial medication for your destination can cause the same result. Be sure you understand your risk and take the proper action.
“Economy class syndrome” describes the long period of inactivity frequently associated with long airline flights in cramped economy seats. This can result in the pooling of blood in the lower extremities, increasing your risk for dangerous clot formation. Evaluation of personal risk factors, education, and preventative action can decrease this risk.
The expression “If you can’t peel it, cook it, or boil it, forget it,” is really an over simplification. Seek out reputable, safe food and beverage information or ask your travel health provider for details before departure.
Travel agents are generally dependable at informing travelers of required immunizations, however, most are not well versed in recommended immunizations. These can be as important if not more so. Other resources are current travel health books, official websites, and travel medicine providers.
If you don’t want to risk being tested in a foreign country under questionable sterile conditions, you need to know what the requirements are before departure and provide necessary documentation.
Absolutely not! The purpose of required vaccines is to prevent you from carrying a disease into the country in question. Foreign governments are not necessarily concerned with illnesses which you may contract while in their country and there are certain disease that there are no vaccines available to prevent. Know your risk and preventative options before departure.
There are sixteen vaccines currently available. How many you may need will depend on a number of factors that only you and your provider can determine together. Be sure to discuss additional measures that can increase your safety and decrease disease exposure.
Generally no. They have a vast amount of knowledge but are not health providers.
Malaria. There are approximately 300,000 cases of malaria each year in North America and Europe, with 270,000 people chronically infected. Forty percent of the world’s population lives in risk areas.
Skin repellents containing DEET are the most effective when used properly. Consider time-released products for long-term exposure.
DEET is a repellent, and Permethrin is an insecticide. Both are safe and highly effective when used properly in combination.
About 200,000 to 300,000 people. It is serious, potentially life threatening liver disease which can be prevented by immunization and personal protective measures. It is 100 times more contagious then AIDS and is more easily spread then AIDS.
Medical evacuation from foreign countries is rarely covered by standard health insurance and is a very expensive service if uninsured. It provides emergency air transport if medically necessary. Consider your wishes if you had a medical emergency requiring hospitalization while traveling, then discuss your needs with your travel health provider to select the best plan.
In North Carolina your risk is extremely low because less than 1 percent of ticks in North Carolina presently carry the disease. However, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in states north of here, your risk could be much higher and you should consider taking precautions to prevent illness.
Yes. Many people do not realize that there are risks associated with these destinations because they are commonly visited by US tourists. Do you homework, then visit your travel medicine provider for advice, vaccines, and medications.
Yes, approximately 50 percent of travelers experience some degree of jet lag. Symptoms can last as long as 10 days. Important factors to consider are length of flight, direction of travel, and difference in time zones between departure location and destination. Learn what you can do to minimize these effects so you can make the most of your trip.
Risk is 60-70 percent on a one-month trip. Risks can be greatly reduced with education, medication, and immunizations.
Auto accidents. This is largely due to poor road conditions and poor vehicle maintenance. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, the risk is 20-80 times higher in certain countries then in the U.S. Approximately 750 Americans die annually in auto accidents abroad, and approximately 25,000 are injured. Discuss ways to decrease these risks with your travel medicine provider.
Travelers’ diarrhea. Knowing what food and beverages to avoid and what action to take if you develop symptoms is key to avoiding dehydration and possible medical care in foreign countries.
Absolutely! Business travelers are at risk for a variety of reasons, but most importantly they may encounter border-crossing problems if they haven’t received certain required vaccines.