Safety & HCM Post

Health Risks For International Travellers

If you have the travel bug, don’t pick up any bugs while traveling.

International travelers — working or vacationing — need to be careful to avoid illnesses common in other parts of the world.

Malaria, cholera, hepatitis, yellow fever, typhus, tuberculosis, and Dengue fever are just some of the illnesses you might be exposed to in certain overseas locations. Mountain sickness is a potentially fatal risk for workers at high altitudes such as mining camps.

Here are some tips for staying well:

  • Keep your routine immunizations up to date. Try to anticipate travel well in advance so you can get any additional immunizations needed. Keep your own records of immunizations in addition to those filed by your doctor or company. To find out which immunizations you need, call the Center for Disease Control International Traveler’s Hotline at 404-322-4559.
  • Be aware of the health risks where you are traveling, and how you can avoid and treat these illnesses. Pay attention to your company’s briefings and printed information. Learn all you can on your own, with sources such as your local community health unit, the Internet and travel information centers.
  • Carry a first aid kit containing over-the-counter remedies for common illnesses. These may include a mild pain killer, something to lower fever, medicine to treat diarrhea, a sleeping aid, decongestant, ointments to treat fungal and bacterial infections, and others. Your doctor may also supply prescription medicines for preventing and treating malaria, diarrhea and infections.
  • Do not drink local water in areas where it may be contaminated. Also avoid fresh produce which may have been rinsed in local water, as well as ice cubes and beverages made with untreated water. Don’t bathe or swim in questionable water either.
  • Maintain good health habits at home and abroad to keep your immune system strong. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise and sufficient sleep and rest can give you ammunition to fight off disease.
  • Try not to leave home with your health already compromised. Have a medical and dental evaluation and have problems corrected before you go.
  • Exhaustion is a risk for those working abroad, as they try to cram more work into less time. Fatigue can lower resistance to disease — as well as increase the chances of accidents.

To maintain good health when you travel, maintain good health at home to keep your immune system strong enough to fight off disease. Start planning well in advance of the trip so you will have time for immunizations and other preparations.

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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