Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday travels: Don’t get sick when you travel overseas

With the holiday season now upon us, it’s important to reflect on your health and safety when traveling. Thanksgiving is typically the heaviest-traveled U.S. holiday, and kicks off the holiday travel season. While taking trips can be fun, it can also come with increased risk for diseases and illnesses, especially when visiting other countries.

Each year, thousands of Americans travel abroad to visit relatives or simply to get away. With this in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  ecommends that people taking trips plan ahead and check for government recommendations on international travel immunizations well before leaving the country.

Having at least a basic understanding of what to look for and what to do if illness occurs is an important part of planning for trips. No one wants to get sick on a trip, but it’s important to be proactive. General symptoms to keep in mind include headache, fever, diarrhea and extreme fatigue.

If you feel sick while overseas and have access to the Internet, the Department of State’s Doctors and Hospitals Abroad website can help you find health care resources in the country you’re visiting. Remember to follow up with your primary doctor once back in the states.

Many illnesses can be avoided by following these simple tips:

• Wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom or petting animals and after handling food.

• Wear insect repellant for mosquito and tick protection.

• Only eat and drink water that has been properly handled or treated.

When traveling, remember to be proactive, be prepared and be protected — the three “Ps” of safe and healthy travel. Safe journeys!

Photo courtesy iStockphoto

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