Happy Travels: Tips to Stay Healthy While on
It is important that
everyone in the family, young and old, get the appropriate vaccinations,
especially if traveling internationally. According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, travelers should visit a travel medicine physician four
to six weeks before their trip because most vaccines take time to become
effective in your body, and some vaccines must be given in a series over a
period of days or sometimes weeks.
Because travelers are
responsible for hospital and other medical expenses incurred during their trip,
it is important to find out if your insurance can cover it. Think about
purchasing additional health insurance for your trip if your health insurance
does not cover you while you are traveling. To find a list of possible travel
health and medical insurance companies, visit the travel section of the U.S.
Department of State website at www.travel.state.gov.
Travel Health Kit
should be taken on the plane in a carry-on bag rather than packed in your
checked luggage to avoid loss. Take along a copy of the prescriptions for
necessary medicines. Ask your doctor to include the generic name, as some trade
name prescriptions are not available in foreign countries. Make sure to keep
medicines in their original labeled containers.
always bring a first aid kit that includes basic things such as antacids,
anti-gas pills, anti-diarrheal medicine, antimicrobial ointment, band aids,
moisturizing cream, throat lozenges, small alcohol wipes, a mild laxative,
insect repellant containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%), sunscreen
(preferably SPF 15 or greater), antibacterial hand wipes, lubricating eye
drops, and if approved by your doctor, include a decongestant, antihistamine
Visit Your Doctor
It is important that
you visit a travel medicine specialist or a doctor familiar with travel
medicine to answer your questions and make specific recommendations for you. A
travel medicine specialist can:
- Help you prevent or treat travel-related
conditions such as infectious diseases, traveler’s diarrhea, jet lag, motion
sickness and high altitude sickness.
- Recommend items that should be brought with you
in a travel kit.
- Help you to get in contact with a physician in
your destination country.
- Give information for traveler’s health insurance.
- Inform you about the current political and
cultural climate of the country in which you will be staying so that you can be
as safe as possible.
When you visit your
doctor, you should bring a list of your current medications, any allergies that
you may have, your previous immunizations and your medical history. You should
also have your complete travel itinerary including the countries and regions
you’ll be visiting, the duration of the trip, any planned activities, and your
place of residence (a modern hotel/resort, tent/campground, rural home, etc.).
For more information or to
set up an appointment with a travel medicine specialist, call Delaware County
Memorial Hospital’s Travelers’ Health Service at (610) 622-8900 or the Crozer
International Travel Medicine Center at (610) 619-8500.