Healthy Trip Tips
Stay Healthy Wherever You Travel
How can travel broaden you if you’re flat on your back? Getting sick during a vacation can do more than spoil the trip. It can also lead to long-term negative health consequences. Diseases that have been eliminated in the United States are still alive and well in certain countries. And the water supply isn’t always safe for drinking.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your family against illness when you travel. The Maimonides Travel Medicine Service—overseen and staffed by infectious disease physicians— put together these trip tips, which can help reduce the likelihood of serious illness while you’re abroad.
Travel Health Tips
1. FOLLOW FOOD AND WATER SAFETY GUIDELINES.
To avoid “traveler’s diarrhea,” be careful about what you drink and eat. Remember the rule: “Peel it, boil it, cook it or forget it.” Do not drink tap water, and drink only bottled water that has been microfiltered. All carbonated beverages, pasteurized juices, alcoholic beverages and boiled liquids are usually fine. You should take along appropriate antidiarrheal agents, as well as antibiotics to be taken only if diarrhea develops.
2. BE SURE TO USE INSECT REPELLENTS PROPERLY.
Use insect repellents containing DEET on exposed skin and those containing permethrin on outer clothing.
3. PREVENT MALARIA.
You’ll need to consult a professional, since the proper agents differ depending on where you travel. Even in malaria-endemic countries, some areas are malaria-free. A physician can prescribe medication to reduce your chances of contracting malaria if you’re traveling in a high-risk area.
4. MAKE SURE YOU’RE UP-TO-DATE ON “ROUTINE” IMMUNIZATIONS.
These immunizations include (when appropriate) tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, influenza and pneumococcal disease. Also, proof of yellow fever vaccination, using a specific form and stamp, is required for entry into some countries, and some require it for all travelers from endemic areas. This vaccination can only be given by specially certified providers, like the Travel Medicine team at Maimonides. Many vaccines take at least four weeks to achieve maximum effectiveness, so plan ahead.
The Maimonides Travel Medicine Service offers pre-travel examinations, immunizations, country-specifi medical information and post-trip care. We can even give you the telephone numbers of local medical providers. We’re open Monday through Friday. Patients are seen by appointment, and evening appointments are available. If you’re traveling abroad, you would be very wise to consider adding Maimonides to your itinerary. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 283-8578 or visit the Maimonides Travel Medicine Page.