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Front Page » August 18, 2011 » Recreation and Health Focus » Don't ignore sickness when away from home
Published 1,163 days ago

Don't ignore sickness when away from home


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Before going on vacation, few people consider what might go wrong. Instead, travelers are understandably preoccupied with all the exciting things that await them on their travels.

For some travelers, however, what awaits is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Getting sick while traveling is something no traveler expects and, as a result, few are prepared for sickness when it strikes. Insect*borne diseases and gastrointestinal illnesses are some of the major health risks for travelers, particularly those visiting developing nations. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, travelers should heed the following advice, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, should an unexpected illness rear its ugly head while away from home.

*Don't put off seeing a doctor. Some people simply refuse to see a doctor. While men and women might know their bodies well enough to make it through ailments at home without seeing a doctor, it's best not to take any chances when traveling, especially when traveling in a foreign country. Travelers should see a doctor immediately if:

*They experience diarrhea and a fever 102 F or above.

*They experience bloody diarrhea.

*Fever or flu*like illness appears when visiting a malaria*risk area.

*They get in a car accident.

*They are bitten or scratched by an animal.

*Drink plenty of fluids. When experiencing diarrhea, travelers will lose a lot of body fluids. To combat this loss, drink plenty of clean water and other fluids. Regions with little infrastructure, including those with no plumbing or outhouses, and those where electrical capacity is minimal often make it difficult to adequately refrigerate food, increasing the risk of disease.Travelers visiting such areas are, therefore, more susceptible to illness like diarrhea. If diarrhea does occur, replace fluid loss with an oral rehydration solution, or ORS. It's typically not too difficult to find an ORS in stores and pharmacies in developing countries. Just be sure that when adding water the water has been treated or boiled.

*Consult staff or crew immediately if illness strikes while in transit. Symptoms of illness don't always manifest themselves right away. Sometimes it happens when in transit. Travelers who are on a plane and suddenly stricken with illness should tell a crew member immediately. Respiratory illnesses or any illness characterized by lots of coughing might prompt the crew to request the ill passenger wear a surgical mask. This is to protect fellow travelers and the crew and should not be taken as an insult. Instead, travelers should be mindful of other passengers and cooperate with the crew as much as possible.

*If on a cruise ship or a boat, the ship will likely have a medical facility on board. It could just be seasickness, something the crew aboard the cruise ship will likely be adept at handling.If the condition is something more serious, the crew might arrange to move a sick passenger to a hospital at the next stop. Whatever the case, contact staff or crew immediately. A typical crew has seen it all before and should be completely capable of handling a sudden illness.

*Contact any insurance providers. Travelers who purchased evacuation insurance should contact their provider the moment any trouble arises. Have the name and telephone number of the provider on hand at all times. It's also a good idea for individuals to have the contact information for their standard healthcare provider with them when traveling. Some travelers might be covered even when traveling overseas.

More information is available at www.cdc.gov.

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August 18, 2011
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