There are many things that you can do to prepare yourself and your family for travel. By being as prepared as you can be, you are setting yourself up for a great getaway that will minimize any unpleasant circumstances that sometimes arise with travel.
The very first thing you must do is RESEARCH.
You want to learn as much as you possibly can about your destination prior to arrival. An important part of this research should include a visit to your travel medicine specialist to discuss health requirements for the area you intend to visit.
A consultation would encompass various aspects of health, as the traveler is likely to be exposed to various infections and illnesses that the more developed countries have eliminated but are still prevalent in other parts of the world and as such they should be aware of measures to prevent illness that can be contracted from food and water, insects and animals and close personal contact with locals. There is a good chance, too, that the traveler’s own immunity does not match the local foreign environment.
Subjects that would be covered include:
TRAVELLERS DIARRHOEA: It occurs in up to a half of European travelers who spend two or more weeks in developing parts of the world and should therefore be taken seriously. Stomach upsets and diarrhoea are very common. Contaminated food and water is a major cause of illness and care is especially important when eating out and in countries where local hygiene is poor. More spices or oil in food, as well as alcohol, can also lead to stomach upsets.
VACCINATIONS: Unfortunately, many of the diseases that the more developed countries have eliminated are still prevalent in other parts of the world.
Travelers to tropical countries as well as too many other regions will need to be vaccinated against these diseases. Examples include: yellow fever, hepatitis, typhoid fever, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and many others.
When deciding which travel vaccines are required, each individual traveler should consult a travel medicine specialist to obtain information relating to the country or countries they intend to visit. Vaccinations take time. A doctor should be consulted as soon as possible, ideally at least four weeks before travelling. Late bookings can leave insufficient time for vaccinations to become fully effective.
INSECT BITES: Insects inhabit every corner of the globe and there are perhaps more species of insect than all the others put together. They are remarkably successful creatures and have adapted to survive in just about every environment. Many species of insects are parasitic, living off a host rather than devouring it.
Of the many diseases spread by insects, very few are actually caused by the insects themselves but rather, by other organisms passed on when they feed or bite. Biting insects such as mosquitoes cause much inconvenience due to local reactions to the bites themselves which are rarely harmful, but in doing so they can spread diseases, some of which are potentially fatal.MALARIA is a serious and sometimes fatal disease which is widespread in many tropical and subtropical countries. It is caught by being bitten by an infected mosquito that is carrying the malaria parasites in its saliva. Sexually Transmitted Disease and Blood Borne INFECTIONS: (including HIV & Hepatitis B) Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) including HIV and hepatitis B are endemic worldwide but are more prevalent in certain overseas destinations.
MEDICAL KIT: It is also important that you take adequate personal medications relevant to the area. With your travel medicine specialist you can design a customized medical kit suitable to your particular requirements. This could include items such as water purification tablets, malaria medication, insect repellant, oral hydration medication, pain killers and other emergency treatments.
IF YOU ARE THINKING OF TRAVELING TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY PLEASE COME AND TALK TO DR JOANNA KARAMON, OUR TRAVEL MEDICINE SPECIALIST, AT THE LUZDOC STAND: 120