Your Itinerary for Healthy Travel
Before you pack your suitcase and renew your passport, there is something you should add to your international travel checklist—a personalized travel health plan. When we dream of travel, it is easy to focus on the exciting adventure that awaits, overlooking the health and safety risks.
The good news is that despite the inherent risks that come with international travel, there are helpful tips you can utilize before, during and after your trip. As many of us have learned the hard way, it’s better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it—the same rule applies to a travel health plan.
Healthy Preparations Before You Travel
- Do your research! Learn about the local food and beverages, insects and pests you may encounter and the availability of emergency medical care. Make sure you will have insurance coverage.
- Contact your doctor for an up-to-date immunization record and make an appointment to receive necessary or recommended vaccinations at least 6 weeks before you plan to leave.
- Utilize resources like the CDC for travel advisories, warnings and other helpful suggestions regarding your travel destination.
- Be sure to get prescription medications refilled to last the duration of the trip. Also, talk to your physician about medication to use during flying, driving, boating or riding trains if you are prone to motion sickness or related conditions.
- Make your own first-aid kit with supplies for minor emergencies that may arise. Customize your first aid kit based on your destination and activities. Recommended things to include are bandages, Neosporin, hydrocortisone cream, Benadryl and Imodium.
- Bring hand sanitizer, melatonin and sunscreen as all-around helpful essentials while traveling.
Healthy Reminders for While You are Traveling
- Keep in mind common conditions while traveling, including traveler’s diarrhea and difficulty sleeping; make plans accordingly.
- Avoid eating certain foods (e.g., dairy products, food vendors and ice) that could be hard on your stomach. Stick to well-cooked foods and bottled water to be safe, even while brushing your teeth.
- Avoid swimming and any water activities in freshwater lakes and streams as you may be exposed to certain diseases.
Having a Healthy Arrival Home
- Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to ensure that there are no illnesses or symptoms you may have missed while traveling.
Assembling a travel plan can be a daunting task, but we are here to help. ChoiceOne Urgent Care, a partner of Gwinnett Medical Center, offers a travel health & medicine program. This program is designed to provide you with a custom travel plan, including vaccinations, medications and anything else that may apply to you and your travel destination. Learn more about this program at gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/urgent care.