On Your Health

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Staying Healthy During Summer Travel

07/01/2016

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With so many things to prepare for before traveling away from home, health shouldn’t be at the bottom of the list. Especially because of the spread of the Zika virus, it’s a good time to review ways to stay healthy while on vacation, no matter how far you travel from home.

Before you go

Here are a few suggestions from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and INTEGRIS on how to prepare for your trip.
  • Check for any travel alerts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports current health notices, and the State Department reports on safety conditions. “It’s important to be proactive by learning about travel advisories for your destination, planning ahead to obtain any recommended vaccines or preventive medications, or deciding if travel should be rescheduled for persons at high risk of illness,” said Dr. Kristy Bradley, the state epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
  • Read up on travel health. There are many resources available. For international travel, be sure to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and INTEGRIS. The Oklahoma State Department of Health is also a good resource.
  • See your doctor. Discuss any general travel concerns and issues related to your health specifically.
  • Get your prescriptions together. Make sure you have enough medicine to last your entire trip. You don’t want to be stranded without sufficient dosages. Also, consider whether you need special medicines for your trip, such as malaria prevention. Always travel with medicine in its original containers.
  • Get vaccines if necessary. Some destinations require certain shots to enter the country. You may also ask your doctor if you need any updates, such as a tetanus booster if you are doing volunteer work in a challenging environment. The Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends sees your provider at least six weeks before you leave.
  • Pack the necessities. Take the basics, like sunscreen, bug spray and hand sanitizer. You never know what may not be readily available. Also, don’t forget your insurance information and any relevant medical information, such as a health history and immunization records.
  • Think about your carry-on. If you fly, take medicine and medical information in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost or delayed.
  • Call your health insurance company. Know the rules of what may or may not be covered in case of emergency. Consider supplemental travel health insurance if it makes sense for you.

When you arrive

After you’ve arrived at your destination, here are some ways to stay healthy.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you.
  • Be careful around animals.
  • If you’re concerned about water safety, use bottled or boiled water if possible.
  • Avoid raw foods in areas without reliable water or sanitation.
Want to know more? Explore the INTEGRIS library on travel medicine.

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