International Travel: Staying Healthy Far from Home

Traveling abroad can be a thrill of you life, especially that you get to visit many great cities of the world or explore the most exotic and remote locations. Although the rewards of international travel can be very significant, you are still prone to infectious diseases and may encounter risks to your health.

What’s worse, if in case you acquired a disease during your travels, the local hospital may not have the proper medicine or equipment to treat it? Worse, traveling back to your home country might even worsen your condition.

It is good to know that you can perform some precautionary steps to avoid harmful organisms entering your body during your travels. Here are some great tips.

Plan ahead about vaccinations

A weekend stay in a foreign city may not need too much medical needs, but if you are planning to stay longer you may want to plan ahead. Learn about what vaccines you should take before entering a new country by consulting your doctor or researching the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), or the U.S.

State Department’s Overseas Citizen Services. It is best to find out about vaccine at least six weeks in advance since it takes several weeks for immunity acquired from vaccines to develop. You also need to remember that no vaccines exist for some of the world’s most life-threatening infections such as HIV/ AIDS and malaria.

Ask for immunization certificate

If you receive any vaccines, ask your doctor or your local health department for an immunization certificate that is standardized by the WHO. Also, you need to get a medical waiver on your doctor’s letterhead stationery if you are allergic to any mandatory vaccines.

Be protected against malaria

You need to take extra precaution if you would be traveling for more than six months to countries that are affected by malaria. Be sure to take an adequate supply of malaria medication with you.

Bring your medical records

Make several copies of an abbreviated version of your medical records, which you may have to give to medical professionals just in case something happens to your during your travels.

Have your vaccines updated

Consult your physician about updating your mandatory immunizations such as tetanus, pneumonia, polio, influenza, and measles-mumps-rubella. Such diseases are still prevalent in some parts of the world.