Travel Health New Places New Faces New Illnesses

Travel can affect your health in unanticipated ways. For example, altitudes above 5,000 feet may elicit shortness of breath and more frequent urination. These changes are normal.

But is it normal to get a headache? In truth, a headache may indicate altitude sickness.Part of the thrill of travel is seeing someplace different. But when it comes to your health, different is not always better. Changes in ecology, climate, altitude and nutrition may bring risks of illness you don't face at home.

To stay well on the road, there's a lot more we can do than "don't drink the water." The most important tip is to prepare before you leave. Pre- and post-journey evaluations with a physician can ensure that all our travel memories are happy ones. A consultation with a physician helps you prepare for the predictable changes and surprise problems of travel.A travel health consultation covers these areas, and more:

  • Caring for preexisting conditions
  • Dehydration and re-hydration
  • First aid essentials, including medications for common travel-related ailments
  • Food and water precautions
  • Inoculations
  • Insect protection
  • Jet lag
  • Motion sickness
  • Self-treatment of traveler's diarrhea
  • Vaccines and immunizations
A travel health specialist can extend the conversation to include larger wellness topics such as insurance, vehicle safety and evacuation plans for unstable areas.

Dedicated travel health physicians stay abreast of updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as specific recommendations and requirements of individual countries.If you already have chronic conditions such as allergies, pulmonary disease of diabetes, travel takes you away from the safety net of your familiar physician and pharmacy. It's vital to be prepared. When you're packing your passport, Traveler's checks and toothbrush, make sure you have your health plan, too.

.The author, Patrick Gillam, writes on health topics for hospitals, visiting nurse associations, hospice providers, sub-acute care facilities and physician management companies.

See more copywriting by Patrick Gillam

By: Patrick Gillam

New York City

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