Visit your doctor before a trip out of country - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Visit your doctor before a trip out of country

If you're planning a trip out of country, there are a few simple precautions you should take before you go to insure a healthy return home.

World traveler Deron Johnston is an engineer. He visits lots of countries on work visas. "Thailand is on our frequent travels schedule. Actually, I've had work visas in eight different countries."

Before landing anywhere on foreign soil, his company arranges a visit with Dr. Jacob Blum, a specialist in travel medicine.

Some of the vaccines Johnston has needed for his travels include typhoid, hepatitis A and B and a tetanus booster.  

"Hepatitis A is a vaccine that protects people for 12 months from contaminated food and food handling and water" Dr. Blum said. "Things like meningitis are an issue, yellow fever is a major issue for South America and Africa."

Destination, of course, determines which vaccines a traveler will need, but there are many health precautions to take even when remaining on the beaten path. For dream vacations in Europe for example health hazards are awaiting you.

"Specifically places like Spain, Italy, Greece" Dr. Blum said, "they're beautiful countries, well developed, but the infrastructure is corroding." It puts the water, sanitation and health in jeopardy.

One third of international travelers experience travel related illnesses like diarrhea. Blum recommends getting bottled water your first stop off the plane and in addition to using it for drinking he says to also brush your teeth with bottled water.

He also recommends steering clear of street vendor foods and anything that appears risky. "It smells good and looks good, but you have to make sure it's cooked thoroughly," said Blum.

Definitely include insect repellant containing DEET. "Insects, especially mosquitoes carry a lot of disease," Blum said.

These same suggestions apply for travelers to the Caribbean, or areas with rain forests and jungles. Measles, for example, are a serious problem in the Dominican Republic.

Check with your doctor to be certain you and your children are up to date on all routine vaccines.

Another travel tip: When taking routine meds, don't pack them in pill sorters. Put your medication in your original containers, or they may get confiscated by Border Patrol.

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