Travel medicine tips. Most of us are excited to travel and would like to arrive both at our destination and back home safely and in good health. Don’t let these problems derail your plans…
There are many types of travel-associated infections: digestive, respiratory, vector-borne (like from insects) and sexual. Some can be life-threatening. Travelers visiting friends and relatives in their country of origin were the travelers most likely to not seek pre-travel counseling from physicians and had a disproportionately high burden of serious infections. So, if you are traveling overseas, consult your primary care physician about which vaccines and medications can help you not get sick.
As far as the airplane, I do not take any precautions except for washing my hands before eating (or touching my face in general) and after using the restroom. I am unsure of any research showing that supplements significantly decreases cold symptoms while traveling. but if YOU feel like a supplement helps you (and it does no harm), continue taking it! Prolonged immobilization during a flight may cause a blood clot, so be sure to exercise your legs in your seat or walk around the plane every 2-3 hours. If you have sickle cell disease or lung disease, you may need supplemental oxygen on flights. Decongestants can help with blocked Eustachian tubes or sinuses that can occur due to air pressure changes while the plane ascends or descends.
Be sure to take sufficient supplies of current medications in your carry-on bag as equivalent drugs may not be available at that location or very difficult for your physician to call into a pharmacy in a timely fashion.
Consider buying travelers insurance, including evacuation insurance.
Are your vaccines up to date? If not, this is a great time. Consider that some vaccines have more than one in the series and may take up to 6 months to get full benefit Look on the www.cdc.gov website under “travelers’ health/ destinations” for vaccines and prophylactic medicines to take, depending on what is endemic in the area you are traveling.
Avoid consuming tap water or ice made from tap water or raw foods rinsed with tap water as the water may be contaminated and you can get travelers’ diarrhea or hepatitis A or E or a parasitic infection. Avoid outdoor exposure during mosquito feeding time as an infected bite may give you malaria, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, Zika and yellow fever. ¼ of deaths abroad occur in Americans involved in motor vehicle accidents, so beware. If you have sex with a new partner, wear a condom to help decrease sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV and hepatitis B.
I hope this helps.