“I just booked a trip to(a great destination outside the USA – fill in the blank)and I
don’t want to get sick or injured. There is so much information out there. I don’t want to be paranoid or foolish and I don’t want to spend a fortune. What do I do?”
Research a little first. Get some information about your destination and think about some of the activities you might do there. The CDC web site is compact, user friendly, complete and current. Start a folder either paper or electronic and keep your information all together. Get a current copy of all your immunizations.
Visit a travel clinic before you see your PCP. Travel health is a lot more than just shots. You may need some immunizations and sometimes they must be given in a certain order to be effective. At Travel Health of NH, we review the required, recommended and routine vaccinations and make a plan- which ones you actually need, a schedule to receive them and the least expensive way to do this. You will also get prescriptions for malaria prevention and self treatment of many common travel related health problems individualized for you and your trip.
Get travel health insurance. At least emergency evacuation insurance. Most US health plans don’t cover travel related health expenses at all or very poorly. To compare options go to www.insuremytrip.com. What might seem like a simple problem here, isn’t in many other countries. Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of serious health problems for travelers.
Pack a basic first aid kit. Consider water purification system (SteriPen), sea sickness acupressure bands, analgesics, antacids, think about common products you use that may be nonexistent where you are going.
Make a list of important numbers. Make a file and scan a copy of your passport, include emergency travel health information, past medical history and med list, immunization record, international phone number to report loss or theft of a credit card and email it to yourself. You can access email almost anywhere in the world. There are programs like mail2web.com to retrieve email if you don’t use a major account such as Gmail or yahoo.
Plan ahead, prepare and you’ll have a lot less to worry about when you travel.