WiRED International Advises Health Precautions for Summer Travel

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW AND BERNICE BORN

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Credit: CDC
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ummer is here. You are planning a vacation abroad. Do you have the information you need in order to travel safely? Today you can travel almost anywhere in the world, but so can infectious diseases. It has never been more important to get informed before you go.

 

The first question to ask yourself is whether your vaccinations are up to date. You can check by going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended vaccines for adults and consulting your health professional.

 

Many diseases that have been eradicated in some countries are making comebacks in others, such as measles and pertussis. Vaccines save lives — as vividly depicted in a Science magazine graphic, which shows how vaccination has dramatically reduced the number of cases of diseases such as polio and measles from 1945 to 2015. The riskiest vaccine? The one that is not given, according to a Science article.

 

The second question to ask yourself is what supplies you need to take with you for your trip. You should bring any prescriptions you normally take and any special medicine such as doctor-prescribed antimalarial medication and antibiotics. In addition you might take over-the-counter medicines such as antidiarrheal, motion sickness, sleep aid and pain/fever medications. Other items you might pack include insect repellant, sunscreen, antibacterial hand wipes, water purification tablets and first aid items.

 

Your best protection against infection at home or abroad
is handwashing. We all should review our handwashing procedures to be certain we are washing properly.

 

Click here for WiRED’s module on handwashing.

The third question to ask yourself is what precautions should I take for food while I travel? Once you are on your trip, stop before biting into a delicious-looking salad or tasting a cocktail with ice. To ensure that food is not contaminated, the rule is cook it, wash it, peel it or forget it. This means eating food prepared at high heat and making sure food is washed in clean water. For more details on which foods and drinks are safe and which are not, go to CDC’s travel health webpage on Water and Food Safety.

 

Your best protection against infection at home or abroad is handwashing. We all should review our handwashing procedures to be certain we are washing properly. For tips on how and when to wash your hands, see WiRED’s module on handwashing. (Refer also to WiRED’s module on water and sanitation.)

 

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy traveling with friends and family. WiRED urges you to make your vacation a healthy one.

 

 


Travel Healthy and Smart

CDC offers a tool online that makes guarding your health easy when traveling. You simply check off pertinent items about yourself and your itinerary, and the tool will tailor advice specifically to you and your trip. For example, if you are pregnant and visiting Brazil, CDC will warn you about Zika and a recent yellow fever outbreak. You will learn what vaccines you need, how to eat and drink safely and what to check after you return. CDC also issues travel alerts by level of health threat, broken down by infection and country, and details a list of what to pack in a travel health kit.

 

 

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