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8 Easy Ways to Ensure Healthy Travel Out of the Country

Apr 15, 2008
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.

Plan your travel health as carefully as your travel itinerary with the Fox News Channel's Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld suggested 8 Tips for Travel that will ensure a safe, happy and healthy vacation.

1. Get updated vaccinations.

Current immunizations recommended for every country are available from the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/travel. The CDC site has great information on the various ways to guard your health while traveling abroad.

2. Do not brush your teeth with tap water.

Because local water can have bacteria and parasites, don't brush your teeth with tap water. If bottled water is unavailable, boiling water for at least 1 minute is long enough to kill any diseases and avoid illness.

3. Don't eat raw fruits and vegetables with the skin.

Like local water, food can also carry disease for the traveler. The CDC recommends not eating food purchased from street vendors. Dr. Rosenfeld suggests peeling fresh fruits and vegetables, not eating the raw skin. Make sure any food you eat is fully cooked.

4. Take extra medication with you.

Running out of necessary medicine could ruin a great vacation. The unexpected does happen, so why not prepare for it now? Plan on packing several days more prescription medication than the number of days you plan on traveling. Then you can rest easy during a delay, knowing your health is secure.

5. Create a travel first aid kit.

Make your own first aid kit and keep it with you on your travels. Be sure to include pain and anti-inflammatory medication, topical antibiotic cream and antihistamine and/or decongestant. You should also consider anti-malaria meds if your destination warrants. Also take anti-motion medication, antacids, mild laxative and anti-diarrheal medication. If you like throat lozenges bring them. Anti-fungal and 1% hydro cortisone creams are also a good idea. The usual cadre of band aids, moleskin for blisters and alcohol pads and latex gloves to treat others are important.

6. Make a travel insurance investment.

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. No swimming in lakes or ponds.

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. Prepare for mosquitoes.

Pack insect repellent that contains 20-50% DEET. This level is acceptable for adults and children over 2 months. You can wear pants and long sleeves as well. It's helpful to spray your clothes with repellent too. If you'll need sunscreen, apply it first then use repellent and make sure to wash off before bed. These safety measures will fend off ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. Malaria transmitting mosquitoes are more active at dawn and dusk. Daytime biters tend to pass 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.
About the Author
Kalynn Amadio is going to South Korea to participate in the World Taekwondo Culture Expo. Visit Kalynn's martial arts website, Taekwondo-Network to learn the wonders of a martial arts way of life.
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