5 Tips for a Safe Vacation

No one wants to get sick on vacation, whether you are on safari in Africa or at a tropical beach house in the Bahamas. These tips can keep travelers safe and healthy, here and abroad.

If you are traveling overseas this summer, make sure your immunizations are up to date. But even day trips to the beach require a little planning to make sure you stay safe and healthy.

No one wants to get sick on vacation, whether you are on safari in Africa or at your best friend’s beach house. These tips can keep travelers safe and healthy, here and abroad.

Q. I am going overseas this summer. Do I need any special vaccines or medications?

See your doctor at least six weeks ahead to find out if your immunizations are up to date, and if you need any additional vaccines, such as one for typhoid or hepatitis A. You should also ask if your destination puts you at risk for a specific illness, such as malaria or West Nile virus.

If you have a chronic health condition, you should have a check-up to ensure you are in good shape for travel, and have all prescription medications filled.

Visit www.cdc.gov/travel for the latest information on destination-specific immunizations.

Q. How can I make sure illness doesn't ruin my trip?

Hand-washing is the best way to avoid illness no matter where you are, but hand-sanitizing gel is a great alternative when traveling. Make sure to bring medicine for common ailments, such as diarrhea, seasonal allergies and fever.

Q. I don't have any food allergies, but I still worry about eating out in new places. Any suggestions?

It’s fun to try new foods when you are on vacation, but you may be better off sticking with foods you know. Also, be sure to avoid undercooked foods and drink bottled water, whenever possible.

Q. What should I pack?

Make a list of your current prescriptions and their dosages. Bring extra in case you get unexpectedly delayed. You should also bring any over-the-counter medications you take, such as ibuprofen and antihistamines. Finally, don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent, especially if you are going to the beach.

Q. I followed all of the above advice, but I still got sick. What should I do?

You should check in with your doctor at home to determine whether or not you need urgent or emergency care. If you are staying at a hotel, call the front desk for a list of local clinics, hospitals and physicians.

Need a referral to a travel medicine specialist?

All patients can benefit greatly from a pre-travel consultation, which should be scheduled at least one month prior to travel, if possible. Call 1-800-SCRIPPS 1-800-SCRIPPS) for a physician referral.

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