Healthy Travel Tips during Summer Vacation

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Dr. Christian J. Flores, from The Medical City Center for Wellness and Aesthetics, gave us the following tips for a healthy trip this summer vacation:

Before the trip

  • Consult your family doctor at least four weeks before travel.
  • Ask about special vaccines that are recommended for specific destinations. “This is very important especially in countries with high prevalence of a particular disease. It is more practical to spend money on disease prevention rather than spending for treatment when the disease has already affected you,” Flores said.
  • Pack Smart: Hand carry your first aid and medical kit containing regular and special medication for the trip. “The usual medications should include paracetamol for fever; any pain reliever, such as mefenamic acid or ibuprofen, for dizziness/motion sickness, such as betahistine; and loperamide for diarrhea during transit/travel. Antibiotics are not usually recommended,” Flores added.

Dr. Flores explained that bringing antibiotics is discouraged. “Fever can be caused by many things. It could be caused by a virus, a bacteria or a fungus and there is no super antibiotic that can target all of these,” Flores stressed.

  • If the traveler develops fever, a good first aid would be an antipyretic, such as acetaminophen. After that, it is recommended the traveler be seen by a doctor, so the proper treatment can be administered. Taking antibiotics left and right, even for fever, without proper medical evaluation may lead to antibiotic abuse and resistance, which may actually be difficult to treat later on.
  • Nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs are the major class of pain relievers used for various causes of pain. It’s not really used for fever per se but may be an adjunct for fever with headache/body pains.
  • Inquire about evacuation and travel insurance to cover health emergencies while abroad.

During the trip

  • Fever during travels warrant expert evaluation by a medical professional.
  • Take precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria, when you visit areas at risk. Prevent mosquito bites by bringing protective clothing and repellant lotions, and take malaria propylaxis as advised by your doctor.
  • Consume only safe food and water. Keep yourself hydrated at all times. “If possible, bring your own supply of water,” Flores noted. Have a supply of medicine for self treatment of diarrhea.
  • Minimize excessive sun exposure by using sunscreen with adequate SPF. “In addition, the use of eye protection, such as dark glasses, is advised in glaring, bright environments,” he stressed.
  • Be careful when dealing with animals. Animal bites or scratches can transmit rabies. Seek immediate help if bitten.
  • Include rest time in your travel itinerary to recover from any fatigue. “In traveling on a different time zone, it is important to prepare yourself a day or two prior to the trip. Adjust your sleeping time accordingly so you blunt the full effects of jet lag. Taking melatonin does not guarantee a jet lag free travel,” Flores said.
  • When sightseeing, wear comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen.