Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip, jet-setting to an exotic international destination, or traveling for business, the anticipation of exploring new places can be exhilarating. However, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. At First Care Medical Centers, we’ve been helping Alaskans prepare for their travels for over 35 years. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through essential steps to safeguard your health when traveling, both domestically and internationally.
Step 1: Research Your Destination
Before you set off on your adventure, thoroughly research your destination. Understanding the health risks and requirements specific to your chosen location is essential. Some countries may have mandatory vaccinations or medications, so consult reputable sources like the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Page or the World Health Organization Travel Advice to stay informed.
Step #2: Consult with a Travel Medicine Specialist
A visit to a travel medicine specialist is an excellent first step in preparing for your journey. Our dedicated travel medicine specialists can provide invaluable guidance tailored to your travel plans. Here’s what you can expect from our services:
Medications and Vaccines: We discuss the pros and cons of medications and vaccines recommended or required for your destination(s).
Existing Medical Conditions: If you have a severe or chronic medical condition, we offer guidance on managing it while traveling.
Routine Shots: We review your medical record to ensure you’re up-to-date with routine vaccinations.
Prescriptions: We provide prescriptions for treating common travel-related infections or ailments, such as motion sickness and traveler’s diarrhea.
Common Complications: We share information about altitude sickness, jet lag, and other common complications that can affect your trip.
Food and Water Safety: We offer practical advice on avoiding water, food, and insect-related illnesses.
International Health Alerts: Stay updated with the latest information concerning international health alerts through our expert guidance.
Specialized Vaccines: We administer specialized vaccines required or recommended for the area you plan to visit, including Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Polio, Varicella, and more.
Step #3: Pack Smart
Ensure you pack a well-stocked travel health kit. Include essentials like over-the-counter medications, first-aid supplies, hand sanitizers, and any prescribed medicines. It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your medical records, a list of emergency contacts, and your health insurance information. In the best case, you won’t use it; in the worst case, you will be thankful you have it on hand!
Step #4: Stay Hydrated and Eat Wisely
Maintaining proper hydration is crucial during your journey, especially if you are traveling to a destination that is warmer than your home climate or you take part in physical exercise – even just walking through the city. You will want to drink bottled water and avoid ice in your drinks if you’re in a location with questionable water quality. Plus, be cautious when consuming street food and opt for well-cooked, hot meals to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Step #5: Protect Against Insect-Borne Diseases
Depending on your destination, you may need to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, Zika, or dengue fever. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider sleeping under a mosquito net when necessary.
Step #6: Stay Informed During Your Trip
Stay informed about local health advisories and updates during your trip. Subscribe to travel alerts and keep an eye on the news. We recommend enrolling in the Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program, where you can designate where you will be traveling for updates on the health and safety of the location.
Visit Us at First Care Medical Before Your Journey
Your health should be a top priority when preparing for travel, whether for business or pleasure. Alaskans, as you gear up for your upcoming adventures, remember to prioritize your health. Visit First Care Medical Centers to receive personalized guidance and vaccinations tailored to your travel plans. Our experienced team is here to help you stay healthy while you explore the world. Contact us today to schedule your travel health consultation. Safe travels!