There are two issues to consider when traveling. One is obvious: are there any infectious diseases you should be aware of when you arrive at your travel destination? If you are traveling to Africa, for example, malaria may be a problem. In many South American countries, C. difficile is a potential health risk, as is dengue fever. In many countries, one form or another of influenza is circulating through the population and poses a health risk.
Before traveling, itâs important to get your doctorâs advice about any infectious diseases that exist at your travel destination. Your doctor can help best decide how to protect and/or inoculate you against these health risks.
But there is another side of the health equation that you need to consider before you set foot on foreign soil and thatâs your own health condition. Do you suffer from a pre-existing health problem like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma? If so, you need to take some specific precautions to avoid any serious consequences while vacationing.
It may seem like common sense to consider your health needs before and while you are traveling, but according to a recent study, many people neglect to do this. Researchers at the University of Utah studied travelers who were visiting friends and relatives. Of the 110 travelers, 48 travelled to Africa and 62 travelled to Asia.
Before leaving, the travelers discussed the following topics with their health care provider: 71% talked about infectious disease prevention; 16% discussed chronic, pre-existing conditions; and 13% asked about travel safety.
Despite these discussions, hereâs what happened to the patients while on vacation:
â¢ 32% experienced health problems related to a pre-existing condition
â¢ 22% came down with an acute infection after arriving at their destination
â¢ 60% of the travelers did not take theirÂ medication regularly while on vacation
What effect did this non-adherence have on the travelers? According to the researchers, blood pressure rose significantly and BMI levels dropped in those traveling to Africa.
While itâs necessary to have pre-travel appointments with your doctor to talk about infectious disease prevention, donât forget that taking your regular medication and managing any chronic conditions are still top priorities.
Take your meds with you in a protective case that clearly labels what each med is and when to take it. Bring extra, in case you lose any tablets or bottles. When you arrive at your destination, donât leave meds out in your hotel room. If youâre going on any day trips, take two daysâ worth of medication just to be safe. That way, if anything disrupts your schedule and you canât return to your hotel in the evening, youâll have your meds for the next day.
Source(s) for Todayâs Article:
Gurgle, H.E., et al., âImpact of traveling to visit friends and relatives on chronic disease management,â J Travel Med. March 2013; 20(2): 95-100.