Travel Safety Can Be a Passport to Good Health

SATURDAY Feb. 28, 2009 -- Staying healthy while on a trip is as important as packing the right clothes.

"Just because it says resort or five-star hotel doesn't mean it's safe," Laura Gonzalez, a nurse with The Loyola University Health System International Medicine and Travelers Immunization Clinic, said in a news release issued by the school. "You still need to watch what you eat, protect against insect bites and don't go out at night alone."

The clinic offers these tips to help all travelers, regardless of their destination:

  • Practice good hygiene. Hand washing is critical. Rather than packing gels, bring sanitizing wipes so eating utensils can be wiped as well as your hands.
  • Bring or buy clothing and items to help protect yourself from insect and animal bites.
  • When going to new time zones or high altitude destinations, drink plenty of water and stay rested.
  • Watch what you drink and eat. In developing nations, avoid drinking tap water and using ice cubes in your beverages. In general, avoid buffets, and make sure meats and vegetables are thoroughly cooked. If you do develop diarrhea, treat with fluids, anti-motility agents and, when needed, antibiotics.
  • Minimize your risk. Leave expensive items home; avoid traveling alone, especially at night; use alcohol in moderation, and avoid risky behaviors such as getting tattoos, using drugs and having acupuncture.
  • When in the tropics, avoid swimming in fresh water.

More information

The U.S. Department of State has more about traveling abroad safely.

Posted: February 2009


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