Vital health checks before the holidays


More carefully planned vacations, business trips, or expeditions can be ruined by illness, many of which can be prevented. It is logical to make as much effort to protect your health abroad as you have to plan your itinerary and obtain the necessary equipment and travel documents.

Unfortunately, it is not in the best commercial interest of travel companies to emphasize the possible health risks of destinations that are sold to potential customers: Most vacation brochures limit health warnings to minimum legal requirements, and some travel agents unfortunately ignore dangers of traveling to more exotic climates. Our doctor recently treated a travel agent for life-threatening malaria caught off the coast of Kenya. He had not taken malaria prophylaxis, despite widespread and extensive recognition of the dangers of malaria in this area.

Fortunately, travelers’ health problems are often more mundane. Fatigue from overwork before a business trip or much-needed vacation, stress from the trip itself, exposure to new climates, and excess indulgence in rich foods, alcohol, and tobacco all contribute to increased vulnerability to diseases. Short-lived episodes of diarrhea affect up to 50 percent of travelers, and up to a fifth of tourists in some Mediterranean tour packages will have mild respiratory problems, such as colds, flu-like illnesses, or rarely more pneumonia. serious. like legionnaires’ disease.

Sunburn or heat exhaustion are common, and accidents associated with unknown sports such as skiing are an obvious danger. But the most common cause of death among expatriates is traffic accidents and not exotic infections.

It is sensible to get well organized before traveling and the following pre-travel health checklist may be helpful. Starting three months before traveling, consult your family doctor and specialized agencies, as necessary, for information on specific health problems at your destinations. You should consider your health and your physical, medical, and dental health for current travel and medications. You must obtain adequate health insurance. Plan and get the necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. Plan and obtain other medications, first aid supplies and any necessary documentation. Consider whether you should attend a first aid course if you go on an expedition.

When traveling outside of Europe, it is advisable to obtain information on the mandatory immunization requirements of the Embassy, ​​Consulate or High Commission of each country you plan to visit. However, don’t expect your staff to be able to provide you with general medical advice, and your information is not always as up-to-date as it should be. British travelers to exotic locations should also consult their District Public Health Department or one of the specific expertise centers for the latest information on immunization requirements and malaria prophylaxis.