5 essentials to know as you plan your next trip

May 30, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

You remembered to pack your phone charger, socks and toothbrush.

But did you remember to get the immunizations you need, or study up on food and water safety?

Depending on where your travels take you, there are a number of things to consider before you leave town. On a typical two-week trip, travelers can lose an average of three days because of illness.

Don’t overlook these health preventative measures (especially if you’re planning an international trip):

  • Get immunized. Depending on the location you’re planning to visit, there may be immunizations that could help you avoid contracting diseases that you wouldn’t likely contract at home.
  • Learn about food and water safety. You know the saying, “Don’t drink the water?” In some places, this is really good advice. Research your destination and talk to a health expert (such as a specialist at the Edward-Elmhurst Health Travel Medicine Clinic) about food and water safety.
  • Avoid travelers’ diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control estimates 30 to 70 percent of travelers experience travelers’ diarrhea, depending on the country they’ve visited. It’s usually caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria and is accompanied by abdominal cramps, nausea and bloating.
  • Learn how to prevent altitude sickness. If you’re visiting a high-altitude location, such as Colorado, there is less oxygen in surrounding air, which can cause symptoms like headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.
  • Protect yourself from disease-carrying bugs. Another pre-trip research topic: what insects live in your travel destination, and can they spread disease?

It’s a lot to think about — and that’s where the Edward-Elmhurst Health Travel Medicine Clinic comes in.

When you visit the clinic, our experts will recommend medicine based on where you’re going, your medical history, activities you’re planning on the trip and any medication you may be taking.

Based on your consultation, our specialist will recommend the appropriate vaccines and prescriptions for your trip.

We carefully consider the risks and benefits of vaccines and medicines and, in some cases, provide an explanatory waiver rather than a vaccination. This document explains the decision not to give a vaccine, typically due to a person's age, medical condition or current medications.

Planning ahead really pays off, whether it’s your trip itinerary or your health. Travel medicine consultations must be scheduled 4 to 6 weeks in advance. Certain vaccinations may require more than one dose, and there may be a waiting period before the vaccine you need becomes effective.

The Edward-Elmhurst Health travel medicine specialists can help you take proactive steps to stay healthy and make most of your experience. Learn more.

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