Eating Well in Airports

You’re in the airport tired, travel weary and hungry. Most of what you see is fast food and the other options just don’t look too good.  You’re wishing you had more choices.  Here are a few suggestions of some inexpensive, portable, and nutritious foods to bring along that will keep the whole family satisfied.

Oatmeal (quick cook rolled oats) is one of the cheapest and healthiest grains you can find. Dried oatmeal could be carried in a wide mouthed nalgene type container or in packets. Eat without cooking or mix with yogurt, hot water, or fruit juice, which are all readily available in most airports.  Add nuts and dried fruits.

Hard boiled eggs.  A high protein convenience food in its own container. Keep them in the shell until ready to eat to minimize germs.

Granola is also great for airports.  Buy already assembled or make it yourself.  Add pecans, cashews, or walnuts, raisins or dried fruit, and don’t forget to add dark chocolate chips. Store in resealable plastic bags.  Everyone can have their own.

Avoid carbonated beverages, excessive caffeine, and alcohol.  Drink plenty of clean water. Carry some of your favorite herb tea bags or hot chocolate packets to add to hot water.  Dry cup of soup packages don’t take up much room, either.

Next time you’re roaming an airport and getting hungry, don’t look for a something with arches, and just look in your own bag.

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Malaria in the Bahamas 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently received an official report of a confirmed case of malaria in a U.S. traveler who visited the island of Great Exuma, Bahamas in February and March of this year. The last documented case of malaria there was in 2008.  Malaria control measures and increased surveillance have been started.
If you have traveled to the Bahamas this winter and develop flu like symptoms, especially fever, see your health care provider and tell them you’ve been to a malaria area. You could develop symptoms for up to a year after exposure. Malaria can be detected by a special blood test. Treatment is most effective if started early.  Do not donate blood for a year after possible malaria exposure.
If you are planning on going to the Bahamas, be sure to use insect repellent with 30% DEET, cover up exposure skin and sleep in air conditioned rooms or with screens or be nets. For more info on malaria prevention go to the CDC and www.malariahotspots.co.uk/

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas


Looking for unique gift ideas? I found ‘em. These neckties, boxers, scarves and more combine health, education, science, art and fashion. Infectious Awareables has something for everyone on your list. How about a dust mite tie? A polio scarf? Or Ebola boxers?

Unless you know your micro, you’d never know exactly what the abstract design is that you are wearing. Is that dental plaque bowtie or HIV?

There must be at least one person on your list that’s fascinated with science, microbiology or health care. These are not just for the fashion conscience but also for those who wish to start amazing conversations that can lead into mini micro lessons just about anywhere you go.

So don’t wait, wash your hands and go to Infectious Awareables and be the hit of the office grab this year. Won’t your boss be impressed!

Dental Malfunction



When I was 12, I chipped my front teeth. I have had caps since then and over the years, they have fallen off and one cracked when I bit into a chicken leg once. Fortunately, I was home and was only inconvenienced because it happened on a weekend. But what if I was traveling? How available is quality dental care where you travel? What would you do if a filling came out, a bridge broke or a cap came off?

A year ago, a travel clinic client told me she had been on a cruise ship when she had a dental malfunction. She went to the infirmary. They pulled out an emergency dental kit, made a temporary repair and charged her $200. She knew she could’ve made the repair herself but didn’t have the right stuff. She asked if emergency dental kits were available for sale. And they are. For about $25.

The dental emergency kit allows you to do basic, temporary repairs for most dental emergencies. There are several types on the market and most include tweezers, a dental mirror, floss, picks, cement, temporary fillings and topical and oral analgesics. This compact kit comes with full written directions and takes up little room and has a long shelf life.

Travel Health of New Hampshire carries one and it costs $25. Got caps? Get EDK- Emergency Dental kit.

Get Your Feet Wet


On January 14, 2011 Gail Rosselot, ANP, CTC, FAANP and I will be escorting a group aboard Cruise West’s “Pacific Explorer” through Panama and Costa Rica. This 9-day 10-night cruise begins in Panama, transits through the Panama Canal and heads along the Pacific coast north toward Costa Rica’s beautiful Los Suenos Marina. We are offering a continuing education program in travel medicine for primary care providers and those in travel medicine.

Highlights of the trip include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and visiting botanical gardens, national parks, and spending the day with an indigenous tribe only accessible by Zodiac boats.

This trip of a lifetime is open to those with a sense of adventure and although workshops will be offered to NP’s, PA’s, RN’s and MD’s. But anyone interested in exploring Central America is welcome to join the group (even if you decide not to participate in the conference) and group discounts apply to all.

I have traveled with Cruise West and I am impressed with the level of service they offer. The ship’s capacity is 100 passengers. Everyone is so friendly and the naturalists onboard are are so well informed about the local wildlife, birds, peoples and culture. The solo traveler as well as the one who brings friends or family will all feel welcome.

Unpack once and be prepared to be awed by the beauty that is all around you. The rates include everything except alcohol, and tips are not required or expected. It is such a relaxing way to travel.

This is not a typical cruise ship. Getting dressed up for dinner means putting shorts on over your bathing suit. Space is limited so sign up today.

For full information visit www.unique-workshops.com.

Costa Rica – A Snap Shot



Are you looking for a great vacation in an exotic locale with stunning natural beauty, miles of pristine beaches, wildlife, snorkeling, kayaking, nature walks and even zip lining through a tree top canopy? Check out Costa Rica.

We arrived in San Jose and spent 2 days in Monteverde in the cloud canopy. Walking on the suspension bridges through the rain forest made you feel small in the lush greenery but one with it all. The smells of moist ferns, the sound of howler monkeys in the distance and the touch of rain- vertically and horizontally were exhilarating.

Then we boarded the Pacific Explorer in Los Suenos and spent the next 10 days cruising the Pacific coast, visiting national parks, deserted islands, botanical gardens and transited through the Panama Canal under the guidance of four highly educated naturalists. We swam, snorkeled, hiked, and took photography walks with Dennis Finn, a professional photographer, who helped us see this beautiful place through light, color and composition. My point and shoot camera never pointed and shot so well!
Costa Rica is clean and the food fresh and healthy. We had our hepatitis A shots and prescriptions for ciprofloxin to be prepared for traveler’s diarrhea. We used 30 % DEET to prevent mosquito bites but didn’t need malaria prophylaxis. We actually saw very few mosquitoes and bugs in general. I did get a bite in the water that might have been a small jelly fish and used After Bite Extra right away and it worked instantly. Most everywhere we went people spoke or understood English or my limited Spanish.
So consider Costa Rica. Check with your local travel clinic to see what you would need as it will vary based on your exact itinerary and planned activities. Pura vida!

Personal first aid kits for traveling

What you need to bring for a personal first aid kit will depend on your health, where you are going and how long you will be there. Here are some suggestions of what to bring for a 2-3 week trip to a tropical area in an under developed country. Remember to bring small amounts in small tight containers that are well labeled.

Band aids made of cloth not plastic (they can melt)

Alcohol preps- those foil packets of alcohol pads about 10

Sunscreen – waterproof SPF 15 higher

Lip balm with SPF 15 or higher

Soothing eye drops or artificial tears

Tweezers and small scissors ( put in check on bag not carry on)

Duct tape – take a toilet paper cardboard tube and cut in half and wrap a few yards of duct tape around it to make a small roll

Small tube of triple antibiotic cream (ointments can melt)

Bug bite cream – 1% hydrocortisone cream, diphenhydramine cream or a product such as After Bite

Prescription medicines in original labeled bottles

Anti diarrhea medicine – available over the counter

Acupressure wrist bands for motion sickness

Mild laxative tablets

Aspirin or ibuprofen or acetaminophen (depending on what you can take based on allergies, health problems and concurrent medications – if in doubt ask a health professional)

Emergency dental kit

If you wear contact lenses you may want to leave them home. Lack of clean water makes proper handling and cleaning contacts a problem. The dryness of the airplane and dust on safari make wearing contacts uncomfortable.

There are first aid kits available that have most of the above all prepackaged. If you don’t use it on this trip, there is always the next!