Health Advice for Travelers
Travel can enrich your life and open doors to many new experiences. But, it’s important to keep in mind that, if you’re not careful, traveling can also expose you to some serious health risks. To fully protect yourself, you’ll need to take responsibility for your own well-being. The good news is that with some advance planning and preparation, you’ll be better positioned to anticipate and avoid any pitfalls that could potentially ruin your vacation – or make you seriously ill.
To help ensure a safe, healthy, and enjoyable trip, here are some things you can do:
- Before you leave – Thoroughly research your destination and consult with a physician who can provided customized recommendations for you. The risks you face can vary widely based on the areas you plan to visit, the activities you plan to participate in, and your personal characteristics, such as your age and general health. Some things to consider include food and water quality, possible exposure to disease-carrying animals and insects, and the local availability of medical care. Be sure to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the most up-to-date information.
- While you are away – To avoid contracting an infectious disease, you should protect yourself from insect bites by using an effective mosquito repellent, wearing light-colored pants and long sleeves when spending time outdoors, and using a mosquito net while you sleep (if mosquitos are likely to be present). Also, be very careful around wild or feral animals, especially dogs; animals that carry the rabies virus can appear and behave normally. To prevent foodborne illnesses, avoid high-risk foods like ice, unpasteurized dairy products, undercooked meats and seafood, salads, and foods that are reheated, exposed to flies, or prepared in unhygienic conditions.
- When you return – Seek medical attention right away if you become ill within two weeks of your return, especially if you experience fever, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen glands, unusual bleeding, skin rashes, persistent coughing, or breathing difficulties. Some infectious diseases have an incubation period before they produce symptoms, so you should always tell your physician where you’ve been, even if your illness seems unrelated to your trip.
If you would like to see a physician and receive personalized medical advice about an upcoming trip, please feel free to contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. No appointments are necessary at our walk-in clinic, where you can consult with a physician who is experienced in preventing, diagnosing, and treating a variety of common health conditions.