Good Neighbor Insurance (www.gninsurance.com and dev.gninsurance.com) agents understand the importance of making sure all health precautions are taken care of prior going overseas. I, myself, go overseas at least two times a year to far off lands to scuba dive and I too have to make sure all my shots are up-to-date and take those extra health precautions.
Some of the world’s most spectacular destinations are also home to some of the world’s nastiest bugs and diseases. Yellow fever, malaria, and other sickness can strike the international travelers at anytime. Just because one is on vacation or on a business trip does not mean sickness ends the moment you board the airplane heading to another country. Below are tips on what vaccinations one should take as well as health precautions to those countries you are visiting. Of course the foundation of your health precautions for your overseas travels starts with an international travel plan. There are travel plans for those traveling just a few days to a few weeks, www.gninsurance.com/tripcancellation/, overseas to those who will be residing overseas for many years, www.gninsurance.com/career_plans.asp . Either way international health insurance plans are there to take care of those worse case situations just like our US health care plan does in the US.
Dengue Fever Precautions
In travelers returning from the Caribbean, South Central Asia, and Central America, dengue fever is the most common cause of fever. Recently, small numbers of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported in Key West, Florida. While most cases are mild, some people develop dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. There is no vaccine, but travelers can reduce their risk by protecting against mosquito bits.
Tuberculosis (TB) is more common in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, although it is found throughout the world. The infection is spread when a contagious person coughs. Travelers who spend time working or volunteering in hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters have a higher risk to TB exposure. If you feel you may have been exposed, it is important to get a skin test. Prompt treatment is the key to avoiding complications.
Sleeping on the beach may sound romantic until you consider the infected sand flies. Their bites can spread a disease called Leishmaniasis. The most common type, found in the parts of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America, causes skin sores and ulcers. A less common form affects internal systems and causes life-threatening disease. To avoid bites, stay indoors from dusk to dawn. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks. Bug spray and bed nets can also help.
Lymphatic Filariasis is caused by a tiny parasitic worm that spreads through bites. It affects millions in Asia, Africa, and the Western Pacific, and a fraction go on to develop elephantiasis. In the Americas, the disease occurs in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Brazil. Short-term travelers are at low risk but it is prudent to avoid mosquito bites by using repellant bug spray, wear long sleeves and pants, and sleep under a mosquito net.
Bedbugs are not choosy about their accommodations – they check into hostels all the way up to five-star resorts across the globe. They cause itchy red bites on the face, neck, arms, hands, or other body parts – but these marks can take up to 14 days to appear. To detect an infestation more quickly, look for tiny bugs in the folds of mattresses or sheets, rust-colored spots on the mattress, and sweet musty odor.
Preventing Travelers’ Diarrhea
Travelers’ diarrhea is a top travel-related illness, affecting up to half of international travelers. People visiting Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, are the most at risk. It is rarely dangerous and almost always goes away on its own. Still, you can take steps to prevent it – steps that also help prevent more serious diarrhea illnesses such as cholera. The CDC recommends avoiding tap water, food sold by street vendors, raw or undercooked meats and seafood, and unpeeled fruits and veggies.
What about Fruits and Veggies?
With a few precautions, you can enjoy fruits and vegetables while abroad. Avoid raw fruits and veggies, unless you you can peel them yourself. A good rule of thumb: boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it. Also be wary of salads that may have been washed in tap water or smoothies made with non-purified ice.
Antibiotics for Diarrhea
Despite all your precautions, there is still a chance you may get travelers’ diarrhea. If you are heading to an area where this is likely, you may want to ask your doctor about bringing antibiotics. Cases of moderate to severe traveler’s diarrhea can be treated with a course of antibiotics. If diarrhea persists after taking antibiotics, it is important to get tested for possible parasitic infections.
Doug Gulleson loves to scuba dive overseas and makes sure he has his US health care and overseas health care information with him at all times when he travels, www.gninsurance.com/gap-year. Keep our blog close by you, www.gntravelinsurance.com , for continual updates on the changes with the US health care system.