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Health Information Healthy Travel Tips

Steps toward trouble-free travel: Have a safe trip

Your dream vacation is finally at hand, and you’re off to Paris for the food, museums and culture. Or maybe you’re snorkeling off the coast of Florida or camping in the Pacific Northwest.

No matter where you’re headed, you can help ensure a safe and healthy trip by taking a few important steps before you leave.

Get ready
If you’re visiting a foreign country, your starting point should be your doctor’s office. Your appointment should be four to six weeks before your trip, says Gordon Trenholme, MD, director of the Section of Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. “Make sure your routine immunizations, such as tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A, are up to date,” he says.

Additional preparation depends on your destination and may include yellow fever or meningococcal vaccines and preventive medicine for malaria, such as malarone.

Get set
Take a big step toward a trouble-free trip by packing a travel health kit. Include a list of important medical information, such as your medical conditions, allergies and current medications, advises Dino Rumoro, DO, clinical chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rush. Add important phone numbers, such as those of your primary care doctor and health insurance company. Also pack these basics in your kit:

  • An extra supply of your regular medications, in case you are delayed
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • An antidiarrheal medicine
  • Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15
  • Bandages and moleskin for blisters
  • Insect repellent
  • Antibacterial wipes or gel

Go!
Once you’re under way, unwind and have fun. But it’s always best to play it safe with your health. “Your travel pack can’t solve every problem,” Rumoro says. “If you think you need a doctor, don’t hesitate to get help.” Learn how to get health care abroad at www.cdc.gov/travel.


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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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