Travel Tips for Land and Sea

Healthy Traveling

You're setting off for a travel adventure in a foreign land. As important as packing the right clothes and accessories is obtaining the right information to help ensure that your adventure is a safe and healthy one.

The first thing to consider is the sanitation and public health status of your destination.

Is it safe to drink the water?

Destinations in the industrialized nations of North America, northern Europe, Scandinavia, and the British Isles have high standards of sanitation and safe drinking water. Outside the industrialized nations, sanitation standards vary greatly. So it is wise to take these precautions:

  • Only drink bottled water and soft drinks
  • Avoid ice cubes in your drinks unless you are at a deluxe hotel or resort
  • Avoid eating any food from street vendors
  • Avoid uncooked vegetables and unpeeled fruit

Do I need immunizations?

Again, it depends on the destination. Under ordinary circumstances, you do not need immunizations for travel to the industrialized nations of the world.

In fact, the need for immunizations in general has decreased. This is due in large part to the precise monitoring of disease conditions around the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, has a sophisticated monitoring system that can pinpoint the risk of a specific disease within very specific regions of a country. If you are traveling to an underdeveloped region, contact your nearest CDC center. They will advise on risk for specific diseases in the area t which you are traveling and even administer any needed vaccines or other treatments.

Should I worry about malaria in the tropics?

Again, the CDC is the best source of information about your specific destination. But because malaria is carried by mosquitos, warding off mosquito bites is the first line of defense.

After sunset, wear long sleeves and long pants

Avoid areas of dense foliage

Spray your clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent. (Be sure to determine before hand if your have any insect-repellent allergies or sensitivities.)

Should I pack a travel first-aid kit?

A travel first-aid kit is essential if you are traveling to an underdeveloped region, but it's a handy thing to have in any case. Here are a few things to consider including in your first-aid supplies:

  • Aspirin, or the painkiller of your choice, for headaches or other discomfort
  • Antacids for stomach upset
  • Anti-diarrheal medication, such as Imodium
  • Bandage strips
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Moleskin for blisters

In addition, be sure to pack extra eyeglasses and a sufficient supply of any prescription medication. And when traveling, never pack prescription medicines in your checked luggage--in case your bags get lost. Always carry prescription medications with you on the plane or train.

A few precautions before you leave home will help ensure that you have a happy, healthy vacation.

E-mail us or call:

(In Chicago) 312-440-9870 xxxxxxx (Toll free) 1-800-376-3784