Spring Vacations and Vaccinations: Tips for Your Trip
By Natalie Jewell
It's that time of year again in which selfies of freshly pedicured toes in front of a beachy backdrop seem to be taking over my social media feeds. Am I jealous? You bet! I haven't gone on a trip since big hair was still in. But I'm not envious of the icky tummies (and worse) that some of my friends seem to bring home from their dream vacations. Sounds more like a nightmare to me!
Ironically, these are the same people who shopped for days to find the perfect swimsuit, sun hat, and flip-flops for their spring adventure, yet neglected to take advance steps to protect themselves health-wise. Sunscreen with SPF ratings nearing Fort Knox impenetrability, although invaluable, is not the only thing I'm talking about.
Vaccinations and medications are what I have in mind. No, not the most exciting thing to think about before going away, but they're very important. They may save your life. Is that important enough for you?
Here are a few pointers for a healthy journey:
Do Your Homework!
Find out what diseases tend to be prevalent in the country you'll be visiting. Depending on the location, you may be at risk for such things as Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, dengue, or yellow fever, West Nile and Zika virus, measles, and gastrointestinal infections -- to name a few. Although many of us received routine vaccinations as children, we likely aren't protected against everything. Many diseases are spread through contaminated drinking water and food, so learn best practices to minimize exposure.
What's Up, Doc?
Go see your doctor well in advance of your trip. Ask your doctor what, if any, immunizations you may already have had as a child, and whether booster shots are required. Should immunization records not be available, blood tests may be performed in order to reveal this. These help determine which ones you'll need based on where you're headed.
Laughter Isn't Always the Best Medicine
In addition to administering vaccines, your doctor may also recommend other medications for your trip. So, head down to the pharmacy. Get new and regular prescriptions filled and purchase any over-the-counter medication you may require, such as pain and fever medication, antihistamines, and anti-nausea tablets. While you're at it, stock up on that sunscreen, some mosquito repellent, and other first-aid items. If flying to another country, you may not be able to take these things with you, although maybe you can put them in your checked baggage.
Make Sure You're Covered
Despite all efforts to prevent being plagued by illness while away, there's still a chance you may get sick. Knowing what medical coverage you've got from your insurance provider prior to departure will save you a lot of hassle trying to get that information from afar. Carry copies of your insurance policy with you, as well as copies of your family's immunization records.
Keep these things in mind when planning your next vacation so your fun in the sun doesn't turn into being stuck in bed. Nobody wants that.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spartanburg, S.C.