What to Do Before Traveling

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Summertime is full of many wonderful things – sunshine, block parties, salty air, sand between our toes… And the time to travel! If you are traveling out of the country, here are some tips recommended in regards to your health so that sickness isn’t an option that occurs during vacation.

Before Your Trip:

  1. Get any necessary vaccines weeks before leaving. Some vaccines are a series, causing you to need multiple doses. It is advised to see your doctor at least six weeks before leaving. Your local pharmacy may have a travel vaccine program or you can visit your health department. Talk to your healthcare professional about which ones you will need, as this will vary depending on the area to which you are traveling, and make sure you’re up-to-date with any other vaccines.
  2. Consider your needs. If you have motion sickness, an easily upset stomach when flying, have had an illness or injury occur the last time you traveled, etc., you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed the medicines you need for your trip. This may include hand sanitizer, antidiarrheal, antihistamine, a first aid kit, sunscreen, etc.
  3. Don’t lose track of your documents. You’ll need your vaccine list, passport, and any other travel documents in your carry on. Make sure they’re organized and easy to find, as some countries will need to see proof of vaccine.

During Your Trip:

  1. Be cautious about food and drink. Depending on the area you’re in, you may need to stay away from tap water, ice cubes, street vendors, and/or raw fruits and vegetables (unless the peeling is still on them).
  2. Don’t forget your sunscreen. Make sure the SPF is high enough for your skin tone to protect it from UV-A and UV-B rays (SPF 15+) and that it is applied 20 minutes before going outdoors. You’ll want to reapply every two hours and every time you exit the water.
  3. Remember to wash your hands. In foreign countries, the risk for developing an illness is much higher than in the US. Wash your hands before eating, after sneezing or coughing, and after using the restroom. If you’re unable to use soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

After Your Trip:

  1. Complete any leftover medication. If you’re on an antimalarial, finish it according to your prescription.
  2. If you aren’t feeling well, visit your doctor immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry!