By Vishal Mehta, BPharm, RPh
With February here, many of you are packing your bags and excitedly preparing to travel abroad. Certain illnesses are typically known to strike either during, or upon return from, your journeys. Some of them are vaccine preventable. Being prepared to stay healthy over the course of your trip goes a long way in ensuring you and your loved ones are safe. And that you can enjoy your trip fully! Here are some tips I recommend:
- Consider visiting a travel clinic, or talk to your healthcare provider, six weeks in advance to make sure your immunizations are up to date. Depending on your destination, there may be certain vaccinations recommended or REQUIRED, for example Yellow Fever.
- Be sure to pack a travel health kit, which includes but is not limited to items such as:
- Adhesive bandages
- Hand sanitizer
- Antiseptic wound cleanser
- Packets of oral rehydration salts
You may also want to pack enough medication for the duration of your trip including non-prescription medication such as:
- 1% hydrocortisone cream
- Allergy medication
- Anti-motion sickness medication
- Cough-flu medications
Other useful items that would not go amiss:
- Aloe gel for sunburns
- Insect repellant containing DEET
- Water purification tablets.
- When visiting exotic destinations, the most common illnesses are caused by ingesting food or beverages contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites. To limit infection, practice good handwashing before handling food. Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot. Avoid raw or undercooked meat or fish (including shellfish). If sampling local fruits or vegetables, ensure they are thoroughly washed with safe water.
I wish you a safe and fun trip!