Health Passport: Checkups and Vaccinations Checklist

When you travel to an exotic place, you have to make sure you bring everything you need: bathing suit—check, camera—check, guidebook—check. You do your research beforehand and find out whether you can drink the water, what kind of food you’ll find at local restaurants, and what popular tourist destinations are within walking distance of your hotel. But have you researched the medical facilities and whether you are required to get a particular vaccination before you go?

 

Flu Vaccinations by US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

Flu Vaccinations by US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

Some diseases that are uncommon in the United States still exist in other parts of the world, so you should make sure you’re up to date on routine vaccinations. Depending on the areas to which you’ll be traveling, it may be recommended or required that you get other vaccinations. You can check the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.CDC.gov) for specific information about the country to which you will be traveling.

Illness or Injury Abroad

If you get hurt or become ill while traveling, you will have to pay for your medical expenses. Some health insurance plans will cover you in other countries, while others will leave you to fend for yourself. Even if your insurance does cover you, you’ll usually have to pay out of pocket first and then be reimbursed upon your return home.

Yellow Fever

 

Mosquito Net by Missy

Mosquito Net by Missy

In your hometown, mosquitoes are probably pretty pesky. They eat you alive at your backyard barbecues and buzz around your ears at picnics. But they don’t typically carry disease. But in certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South America, mosquitoes can transmit the yellow fever virus to humans. Yellow fever causes extreme flu-like symptoms and in severe cases can cause jaundice, cardiac arrhythmia, and ongoing weakness and fatigue.

Because the illness can become more severe in unvaccinated individuals, the CDC recommends that travelers visiting certain areas in African and South America be vaccinated. When entering areas that present the highest risk of being infected with the virus, travelers are required to show proof of vaccination. The yellow fever vaccination is good for 10 years, but it may take up to 10 days to provide maximum immunity. Therefore, if you’re getting the vaccine, you can get it several months or even several years before you travel.

Malaria

 

United Against Malaria bands by Afrika Expeditionary Force

United Against Malaria bands by Afrika Expeditionary Force

 

Mosquitoes in some tropical areas can also cause malaria. Malaria is serious and can be deadly. People traveling to areas where there is a high risk of malaria should carry emergency medication in case they do contract the disease. Symptoms of malaria can appear about one week after being bitten by an infected mosquito or up to one year later. While abroad, prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and using mosquito netting when possible.

Medications

When you travel, you don’t want to get stuck without your medication or—worse—end up buying counterfeit medication. It’s safest to bring along any medications you regularly take, as well as any you might end up needing. When you’re stuck in a hotel room in Mexico because you have Montezuma’s revenge, medication can get you back out on the beach; otherwise you might find yourself on the next plane home and suffering for up to 2 more weeks. Tindamax has been approved by the FDA to treat diarrhea caused by giardiasis and amebiasis infections.  Don’t forget, no ice in your drinks!

 

The American Embassy in Erlangen, Germany by Todd Baker

The American Embassy in Erlangen, Germany by Todd Baker

 

If you get sick while traveling and need assistance, contact your country’s embassy. Many embassies offer emergency assistance around the clock. Make sure you look up the contact information for before embarking on your trip, and keep the number handy. Medical facilities in other countries may not be what you’re used to, so it’s better to prevent illness altogether while traveling. If you’re feeling sick before your trip, consider postponing it until you’re feeling better. You hate going to the doctor at home, but it might be ten times worse in Indonesia, Venezuela, or wherever you might be traveling.

Copyright © 2017 Travel Guideline. All Rights Reserved · Terms & Conditions · Privacy Policy · Contact Us · Site Map