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Health Tips for International Travelers

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

Winter is a popular vacation time for many people, with
ocean cruises, ski packages and trips to a favorite tropical
paradise. With foreign trips like these, it's a good idea to do
some health planning and preparation before travel abroad.

Karen Angelichio, registered nurse in the International
Travel Division of Duke University Medical Center, says advance
preparation should start with making sure medical immunizations
are current.

"You should always make sure your standard U.S.
immunizations are up-to-date before you embark on any type of
trip," she says, "Then look at the list of required
immunizations to enter the specific country, as well as those
that would be recommended for your general health and
safety."

Angelichio says it's also wise to learn about food and water
precautions where you're going, as well as insect
repellents.

"We don't have vaccines for everything," she says, "so it's
very important that you educate yourself on the do's and
don't's for food and water and that you know the proper
repellents to use both for your skin and your clothing."

If you have concerns about receiving medical care or being
hospitalized in a foreign country, and especially if you may
require treatment for a chronic condition, you should be sure
to have evacuation insurance. Angelichio says the cost is
nominal compared to having to pay for the service without
insurance, and there are a number of reputable companies you
may wish to contact.

"Make sure that you have elicited the service of a medical
evacuation company so if the health care is not up to standard
in the country you're traveling to, you just call their
toll-free number and there are medical services available by
private medical jet to air-evacuate you out of the country and
bring you home," she says.

Angelichio suggests that travelers check out on-line
resources to stay current on specific diseases and other
updates that may relate to their destination. In addition to
the U. S. Department of
State
, the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention
, and the World Health Organization, travelers
can also find useful information at the Web site of the
International Society of Travel
Medicine
.

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