How to Stay Healthy When You Travel – PART I

Health concerns should not stand in the way of having a great vacation. The number one priority should be to relax and experience a new place and culture. Yet, there are a few things we can’t neglect before and during our travel, if we don’t want out trip to be ruined by unnecessary health issues.

Travel medicine – Vaccines and Prophylactics

Are you travelling to an exotic place? Maybe somewhere you haven’t been before and are not very familiar with? It would be wise to seek out the relevant information about certain viruses and disease that are specific to the area where you’re heading. Most of the things you will probably find are preventable through vaccination.

Some of the most common vaccines to have, depending on the area where you are travelling, are the following:

  • Yellow fever – recommended for most countries in Western and Central Africa, as well as for some on the East coast (Ethiopia, Kenya). It would also be wise to have the vaccine if you travel to less touristy areas of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru or Venezuela. Incidentally, the areas at risk in South America are usually in lower lands. It is highly unlikely to contract the virus at high altitudes
  • Hepatitis A – this is a virus that you can get from contaminated food or water. If the meals are cooked at high temperatures, and if you only drink bottled water, you are safe. However, if you are traveling to developing countries where you think the source of the food will not be 100% safe, it would be wise to get this vaccine. But beware, in order for it to give effective immunity, the vaccine must be taken in two doses, 6 months apart. This means you should plan ahead.
  • Typhoid – the highest risk of typhoid fever is in South Asia. It is a one time vaccine and the procedure is very simple, but it doesn’t offer 100% protection, so you still need to be careful about what you eat and drink
  • Malaria – one of the most (in)famous mosquito-borne diseases, malaria is common in Africa, Central and South America, as well as in parts of Asia. There is no vaccine against malaria, but your physician can prescribe a prophylactic treatment that must be taken before, during and after your travel. Also, use insect repellent to limit the chances of being stung by a malaria mosquito.

Using mosquito repellent is a good travel tip, as it may keep you safe from other viruses transmitted by these pesky insects. For instance, this year, the number of dengue fever cases has increased exponentially in some countries in the Indian Ocean and South Asia: Reunion Island, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia and even Australia. Potentially fatal, if the fever is not kept down, dengue is not preventable through vaccination.

Agile Urgent Care in Secaucus, New Jersey, handles all travel related medications. You can get your vaccines here without any trouble at all.

But staying healthy while travelling is not all about preventive vaccines. In future posts, we will talk about keeping a balanced diet on the road, exercising, getting rest and staying safe from injuries.

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