Summer Holiday Advice

Holiday advice

Ebola, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Lyme disease, West Nile virus (WNV), and beyond, –terrorist.

With all these out there, is it safe to travel this summer?

The answer is yes, only if you are proactive. With proper planning and precautions, you can hit the roads and sky this summer.

Before you move

Check your destination first. The US passport and international travel is a first place to check: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html

Pack a Travel Health Kit

Make a travel health kit handy would be very helpful, make sure you are equipped with the following:

  • An anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Anti-diarrhea medication such as Imodium, available over-the-counter
  • Motion sickness medication such as Bonine, Antivert, Dramamine from over-the-counter
  • Band-Aids
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Drugs for stomach upset
  • Take any prescription drugs in your carry-on luggage, be sure to bring along enough for the entire trip
  • Find out as much as you can in advance about destination-specific health risks. The ISTM as well as the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) offer up-to-date information.
  • A spare pair of glasses and Mosquito or other bug repellents may also be advisable.

Shot before departure

Knowing the destination-specific health risks and having all the right vaccinations and medications before you leave to prevent.

Keep good hygiene

Wash your hands and follow the correct technique to prepare you food is important.

Drink and Eat Sensibly

Travelers’ diarrhea throws a wrench into more vacations than any other disease, striking an estimated 10 million travelers each year. High-risk destinations: Mexico, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

To minimize risk, follow this standard travel health advice:

  • Drink only bottled or boiled water.
  • Eat well cooked, rather than raw or undercooked meat and seafood.
  • Avoid any foods or beverages purchased from street vendors or establishments with unhygienic conditions.
  • Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless you peel them yourself.
  • Don’t put ice in your drinks.

But no matter how closely you follow this advice, you may still come down with travelers’ diarrhea because of restaurant food. Eat only freshly served foods that were cooked at high heat.

Move Around, Drink Plenty of Fluids

Sitting in a cramped position for long periods — whether in an airplane, car, or a bus — can lead to an increased risk of potentially deadly blood clots.

To minimize risk, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and frequently move your legs, he says. Taking frequent, deep breaths can also improve circulation.

Those at moderate risk should also wear compression stockings, sometimes called support hose, he says. And those at high risk should ask their doctor about an injection of heparin immediately before the trip, which will provide protection for about 12 hours, he says.

Your risk for blood clots increases if you are age 60 or older, have heart disease, a family history of blood clots, varicose veins, obesity, cancer, are pregnant or recently had a baby, or have had recent surgery.

Don’t Get Bitten

Mosquitoes are not just pesky pests: They can carry West Nile disease, dengue fever, even malaria. Ticks spread Lyme disease. But a few simple precautions can minimize your risk of getting bitten this summer, the experts say.

Among their travel health advice:

  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk and in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats. Shirts should be tucked in.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks and wear boots, not sandals.
  • Inspect yourself and your clothing for ticks, both during outdoor activity and at the end of the day. Prompt removal of attached ticks can prevent some infections.
  • Consider using an insect repellent: Most experts recommend repellents containing DEET on skin and permethrin-containing repellents on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. But these ingredients can be toxic, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

The WHO Five rules to keep your holiday foods safe

  1. Use safe water and ingredients
    Use safe water or treat it to make it safe; select fresh and wholesome foods; choose foods processed for safety such as pasteurized milk; wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw; do not use food beyond its expiration date.
  2. Keep your hands, utensils, and surfaces clean
    Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation; wash your hands after going to the toilet; clean all surfaces and equipment used in food preparation; protect kitchen areas from insects, rodents and other animals.
  3. Cook food thoroughly
    Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood; bring foods like soups and stews to boiling.  For meat and poultry, make sure juices are clear, not pink; reheat cooked food thoroughly.
  4. Keep food at safe temperatures
    Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours; refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5°C); keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60°C) prior to serving; do not store food too long in the refrigerator; do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.
  5. Separate raw from cooked food
    Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods; use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods; store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods.