Many of you are have trips planned this summer to explore new locales and cultures. To help you prepare, we’ve included some travel medicine tips and guidelines below to keep you and your family safe and healthy during any trips this year. Travelers can easily pick up an infectious disease from contaminated food or water, insect bites, animal bites or other people. Getting the right immunizations and medications before leaving home can be as easy as taking a few simple precautions to keep your family safe during any travel this summer.
How to prepare for your trip
Your best line of defense at staying healthy as a traveler this summer is preparation, preparation, preparation. Pack smart and organize a thorough travel health kit for the whole family.
Important items to pack:
- Your regular prescription medications. Be sure to bring enough for the whole trip, and allow an additional few days to a week’s supply as a buffer in case there are delays on your return trip.
- Medication for allergies, especially supplements to counter any food allergies while traveling like gluten intolerance. In unknown places, it is difficult to know what minute ingredients are contained in prepared food.
- Medication for traveler’s diarrhea. This is one of the most common medical complaints in travelers, domestically and by almost 50% of travelers abroad. Although not fatal, traveler’s diarrhea can cause dehydration and vomiting by ingesting food which unknowingly contains infectious organisms such as bacteria or viruses. This is especially important if someone in the family already has a suppressed immune system.
- Insect repellent is important especially in this day and age of Zika virus and Malaria. Although, the chances of actually contracting these diseases are slim, insect bites are uncomfortable at best, and can carry bacteria and other infections at worst. Pack some heavy duty repellant and don’t take any chances this summer. For more insect bite repellant suggestions check out our article from last month: 5 Summer Illnesses and How to Prevent Them.
Pre-travel medical evaluation questions to ask before traveling
- when was your last Flu shot?
- when was your last Tetanus shot?
- when was your last Hepatitis shot?
- do you need a Malaria vaccine?
When should you see your physician before traveling?
- when you are going to a developing country
- when you are traveling to high altitudes or off the beaten track
- if you have chronic diseases that could be affected by travel
- when you are visiting a country that requires vaccinations.
Remember to make several copies of medical insurance information to include in your luggage and leave a copy home with a friend just in case of an emergency. If you are unable to see your primary care physician ahead of time, stopping by an urgent care clinic is a no fuss solution to getting those last minute vaccinations and health evaluations before traveling to your next destination.