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Written by  Sunday, 08 March 2015 20:15
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YOUR GUIDE TO HEALTHY TRAVEL 

 

Travelling the world is an amazing adventure. Whether you're travelling to visit family and friends, going on a business or school trip or just kicking back on vacation, there are a few things you should do before you leave home. 

 

That's right, a little travel planning. It doesn't matter if you're 16 or 60, it's time well spent. Planning ahead can save you from unexpected inconveniences and more importantly, help prevent major problems like contracting diseases while travelling. 

 

Even in popular "sun-seeker" destinations, there can be serious health risks you need to protect yourself against. The good news is, effective protective measures are available for many travel diseases. 

This blog has been designed to help you make the most of your time away. You'll find helpful tips for every stage of your trip, from pre-travel planning right up to your return. After all, the whole point of travelling is to come home with wonderful memories and great stories to tell. 

So let the journey begin! 

THE VALUE OF TRAVEL PLANNING  

Travel disease prevention starts before you leave home. Staying healthy is every traveler's goal so once you have a destination in mind, it's time to get busy and do your homework! Find out all you can about the place you'll be visiting. Not only will it make your journey more enjoyable, it might prevent you from becoming ill. 

To help identify health risks at your destination, ask yourself:  

• What is the quality of the water? Is it fit for consumption?  

• Are accommodation and food safety standards comparable to those of your home country 

•What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming ill while travelling? ·  

• Do any particular infectious diseases commonly occur at this destination?  

 

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP 

 

 If planning ahead seems like a daunting task, don't give up. The following resources can help provide the information you need to organize a fun and healthy trip:  

Your Healthcare Professional is your primary resource for health information.  

• Travel Agents have access to information on a wide variety of travel destinations.  

• Foreign Affair and International Trade provides timely Travel Updates, Warnings and Current Issues advisories for visitors to foreign countries. Travelers can learn about security threats, dangerous weather conditions, natural disasters, health issues or political instability. 

The Public Health Agency protects the health of people at home and abroad. The site offers advice on travel health, emergency preparedness, infectious disease and injury prevention.  

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). organization that provides comprehensive travel health information, including destination, disease and vaccination information and outbreak notices.  

•The World Health Organization (WHO) is the health agency of the United Nations. Here, you will find a variety of health topics, country-specific information and news on current global disease outbreaks. 

 

VACCINATION AND Travel   DISEASES  

When you receive a vaccine, your body develops immunity to the disease for which you are being vaccinated. Thanks to vaccination, deadly diseases like smallpox have been eradicated, and global efforts are now directed toward the elimination of polio and measles.  

When you get vaccinated, it's important to follow through and return for a the doses your healthcare professional recommends. However, if you are one of those "last-minute travelers" there's still hope - some vaccines offer rapid dosing schedules.  

 

VACCINATION AND TRAVEL DISEASES 

Hepatitis A and B are the two most common vaccine-preventable illnesses in travelers. The following pages provide important information on these serious liver diseases, and how you can help protect yourself. You'll also learn about additional travel diseases, including rabies, yellow fever, and typhoid fever.  

HEPATITIS A  

HEPATITIS A is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in travelers. It is a serious liver disease that is usually contracted by ingesting food or drinks that have been contaminated with human waste. Uncooked shellfish can be especially dangerous.  

Even swimming in contaminated water can lead to hepatitis A infection. A remarkable fact is that 50% of the people who contract hepatitis A don't know where they got it!  

Hepatitis A can be much more than just a "flu-like illness." People with hepatitis A can be bedridden for 4-10 weeks; in some, the symptoms may last for as long as 6 months. Even worse, if you contract hepatitis A you can be contagious without ever having symptoms, potentially allowing you to infect family, friends and co-workers. 

Hepatitis B 

HEPATITIS B is a serious liver disease that is most often spread by direct contact with bodily fluids or blood; but it's more than just a sexually-transmitted disease. Anyone has the potential to come in contact with hepatitis B through dental treatments, manicures, accidents, tattooing, shared grooming items or while administering first aid. Think about it - it could be you.  

About 10% of adults who get hepatitis B become lifelong "carriers." That means they can transmit the disease to others, even though they have no symptoms themselves. Over time, chronic carriers are at increased risk for developing serious liver diseases like cirrhosis or liver cancer.' No specific treatment is available for acute hepatitis B but you can help prevent infection through vaccination. 

 

RISK OF HEPATITISA A & B 

Since hepatitis A and B are the two most common vaccine-preventable illnesses in travelers, vaccination is a good first line of defense. After all, it's almost impossible to predict where hepatitis risks might be hiding, and you could be exposed through simple activities.  

 

Recognizing the RISKS helps you avoid the CONSEQUENCES 

 

Some risk for contrasting hepatitis A Include:-
 
- Swimming in contaminated water .
- Eating food handled by an infected worker.
- Eating 'risky' food such as shellfish or salads.
- contact with local residents who are infected.
- traveling off the usual tourist routes .
 
Some risk for contrasting hepatitis B Include:-
 
- Medical or dental treatment you might need as a result of accidents from sport or other potential risk activities .
Administrating first aid to a person who is bleeding.
- Activities that involve or risk skin perforation such as tattooing, piercing,haircuts or manicures.
Unplanned  sexual activity while on vacation. 
 
 
 

Keep in mind that vaccination may not be suitable for all travelers and can be associated with adverse effects. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider to see which options

are right for you.  

A study conducted in 2000 found that 74% of travelers were at high or potential risk for contracting hepatitis B.t That's why vaccination can be a good idea for you and your family.  

Randomized, telephone questionnaire involving a cross-section of 9,008 people in 9 European countries. 5,385 of those surveyed had travelled in the last 5 years. 446 (8.3%) were at high risk of hepatitis B, 3, 141 (58.4%) were at potential risk, and 385 (7.2%) were classified as being in both high and potential risk categories.  

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Planning a getaway? 

Every year, many people travel to tropical destinations like the Caribbean, without knowing that they could be at risk for contracting hepatitis A or B.  

When you' re planning that long-awaited trip, remember that many everyday vacation activities can put you at risk for hepatitis A or B, even if you're staying at a high-quality resort! In fact, many people who contract hepatitis on vacation have no idea how they became infected. Once infected, you could spread the Illness to others, even before you know you' re sick 

 

The Immunization Guide recommends hepatitis A and B vaccination for all travelers to risk areas.  

The good news is, vaccines are available that may help protect you against hepatitis A and B. Only the Twinrix® vaccine can help protect you against both.  

Preventative treatments may not be suitable for everyone and can be associated with adverse effects. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider to see which options are right for you 

No travel plan is complete without a visit to your healthcare provider - even for travel to tropical destinations like the Caribbean.  

 

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL DISEASES  

 

RABIES 

RABIES is a dangerous viral disease that affects a wide variety of domestic and wild mammals, including bats. Even though rabies exists in most countries around the world, the majority of human cases happen during travel to developing areas. Travelers become infected by being bitten by an infected animal -very often a stray dog. Rabies vaccination may be important if your activities will expose you to potentially infected animals. 

YELLOWFEVER 

YELLOW FEVER is a viral disease that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It occurs only in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America, so for many travelers, yellow fever is not something they will ever need to worry about. However, if your adventures take you into or through a region where yellow fever exists, you might be at risk 

Many countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination from travelers entering the country from infected areas, even if they are just passing through. In Canada, yellow fever vaccines are administered only at specially approved clinics.  

TYPHOID FEVER  

TYPHOID FEVER is a bacterial illness that can be contracted by ingesting food or drinks that have been contaminated with human waste. For example, you could catch typhoid fever by eating food handled by an infected person who has not washed their hands. If you plan to travel to a developing country with poor sanitation, typhoid could pose a serious threat to your health. Don't take the chance. Typhoid fever vaccines, along with careful selection of food and water, can help protect you.  

MALARIA 

MALARIA is a serious disease that is caused by parasites and spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria can result in severe illness and can be especially dangerous in children and pregnant women. If your travels will take you to one of the more than 100 countries where malaria exists, it's very important to ask your healthcare professional about steps you can take to help prevent malaria.  

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Travelers diarrhea 

Another Good Reason To Watch What You Eat.  

Traveler's Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites, but bacteria are the usual culprits. The bacteria enter the traveler's body via contaminated food and water. To minimize the risk of becoming ill, choose foods that are freshly cooked and hot. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, food from street vendors, water, ice and fruit juices. Fresh foods such as salads, fruits and raw vegetables are also considered risky, as are seafood and undercooked meat. Remember the rule, "boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it."  

Unfortunately, even if you follow all the recommended precautions you may still fall ill with Traveler's Diarrhea. There are medications and a vaccine available for Traveler's Diarrhea, but they must be prescribed by a healthcare professional and may not be suitable for everyone.  

 

Page BreakPREVENTING INJURIES 

 

Every year, many travelers' vacations are cut short by injuries. We're not trying to scare you, but encourage you to be cautious.  

Don't become a statistic, consider taking some of these precautions:  

• Make sure your travel health insurance provides adequate coverage.  

 Pay attention to warnings about rip tides or dangerous currents.  

•Be aware that wandering animals may carry rabies or other diseases.  

• Motor vehicle accidents are a significant hazard to travelers. When seatbelts are available, wear them.  

• Be extra cautious when travelling by motorcycle, moped or bicycle and check out the roads you'll be taking in advance.  

• Use life jackets when participating in water sports.  

•Make sure children are constantly supervised near water.  

 

BLOCK THE SUN 

Anyone who has ever experienced a sunburn will tell you that it can really get in the way of having fun! More importantly, it can have serious, long- lasting consequences like skin and eye damage, premature ageing and skin cancer. Don't forget that you can get burned even on cold or cloudy days. Snow and sand reflect UV light and can increase sunburn risk.  

To help protect yourself from sunburn, avoid sun exposure in the middle of the day, use sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and apply it frequently. Also, wear full-coverage clothing when you can, including a hat.  

 

 

 

WATER CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH  

 

By now you know that to avoid travel illness you should pay close attention to the foods you choose. The same rules apply to water. Multitudes of infectious diseases, both viral and bacterial, are transmitted through contaminated drinking water. Even though vaccination can help protect you against hepatitis A, you could still be at risk for other water-borne diseases 

Frequently, travel destinations that do not have chlorinated tap water also have inadequate sanitation and questionable water safety. A simple activity like brushing your teeth could be dangerous to your health! Observe these simple precautions to help avoid water-borne illness:  

• Drink beverages directly from the can or bottle if a safe, clean glass is not available.  

• If bottled beverages are unavailable, water may be boiled, or treated with chemical disinfectant tablets or drops (available in pharmacies).  

• Choose beverages such as coffee and tea, made with boiled water.  

• ONLY drink water, soft drinks, beer or wine that have been commercially bottled or canned.  

• Beware of ice, which may have been made from contaminated water.  

TRAVEL AND PERSONAL SAFETY 

Unfortunately, theft and violence are a growing problem in many countries and travelers are frequent targets. The best advice is to use the same basic "common sense" precautions when travelling that you would use at home:  

• Pay attention to your surroundings and be alert to suspicious activity.  

• Keep cameras, jewelry and other expensive items out of sight.  

• Stay away from remote areas, including isolated beaches.  

Travel with a companion, especially at night.  

• Be vigilant when waiting at traffic lights.  

• If approached by armed robbers, make no attempt to resist.  

• Never photograph military facilities or industrial sites. 

Take a photocopy of all your important documents and credit cards, but store it in a different place from your usual bags. 

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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO 

Before you leave home, it's wise to spend some time researching the rules and customs of your destination. Before you leave, here are a few things to consider:  

• Learn a few key words and common phrases in the local language.  

•Ask your bank if your ATM and debit cards will work at your destination. Being without cash in a foreign land can seriously limit your fun.  

• In some countries, travelers (especially women) should wear modest clothing that respects the customs of the host country. 

 • In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the possession or use of alcohol is strictly forbidden.  

• Remember that most countries impose heavy fines and long prison terms for drug possession and trafficking.  

• Never, ever take any parcel, bag or envelope that is not yours across a border, no matter what.  

• Don't cross borders with people you have just met. In some places you can be charged just for being in the company of a suspected or convicted criminal.  

• Before you hop in that cab, make sure the person really is a legitimate cab driver.  

• Local customs may differ from those in plaes. For example, it might be necessary ask permission before taking photos. 

• If a child is travelling with only one parent or another adult, take a signed letter of consent from the custodial parent(s) or guardian stating that the trip is authorized.  

 

ARE YOU PACKED AND READY 

Use This Travel Checklist To Make Sure `-:-  

Pre-travel visit to healthcare professional at least 4 weeks in advance 

Travel vaccinations received and boosters up-to-date 

Malaria medication (as required) 

Travel documents including passport or photo identification 

Medical and vaccination records 

Travel health and accident insurance 

Airline, hotel and car rental documents 

Emergency contact information 

Personal medications (packed in your carry-on luggage) 

Anti-diarrhea medication (hope you won't need it) 

First-Aid kit 

Sunscreen (SPF 1 5 or greater) 

Clothing, rain gear and a hat 

An extra set of clothes (packed in your carry-on luggage) 

 Comfortable walking shoes 

 Extra sunglasses 

 Alarm clock or wristwatch 

 Dictionaries and Travel Guidebooks  

Camera 

 Hair care. shaving supplies, cosmetics, personal care items 

Country-specific electrical adaptors for small appliances  

Small flashlight 

A LAST FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER 

Returning from a trip is a perfect time to reflect on all the great experiences you've had and share your photos with friends at home. Sometimes however, if you're not feeling "quite right" you may have picked up more than just souvenirs while travelling. For certain diseases, it can take months for symptoms to appear. If you experience symptoms of illness in the weeks following your return, see your healthcare professional, especially if you experience fever, persistent diarrhea or vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), urinary problems, skin disease or genital infections.    

A quick check-up with your healthcare provider is also a good idea if you've been travelling for more than 3 months or if you believe you might have been exposed to an infectious disease. 

It's never too early to start planning your next trip so don 't forget those important booster vaccinations. It's up to you!  

Preventative treatments may not be suitable for everyone and can be associated with adverse effects. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider for more information. 

 

and remember to have fun 

Published by SEYFU M.T 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 04:50
Seyfu Mekonen

Seyfu Mekonen is a founder and administrator of ethiosafety.com. As a founder and administrator he is responsible for free and up to date safety and security informations. He can be reached: seyfu2002@yahoo.com

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