When health risks take a turn for the worse, it is important to be fully prepared with the correct vaccinations and medical assistance before traveling abroad, says Dr. Robert Wheeler, chief medical director at On Call International, a provider of medical, security and travel assistance. Wheeler shares his top tips to help agents clients avoid health hazardous, including:
· Leave Prepared - Before embarking on your next trip, make sure to take all of the appropriate precautions by getting vaccinated. Your immune system is designed to have a memory of previous infections, however by getting vaccinated you “trick” your body to defend against the new infection. Those who opted out of vaccinations when younger should be especially cautious; and be mindful of potential risks for diseases that are not common in the US but are prevalent abroad, Wheeler suggests.
Wheeler recommends consulting your local doctor - or even better, a travel medicine specialist - and checking the Centers for Disease Control for a complete list of shots needed. Wheeler notes that “not all vaccines are effective immediately and travelers should be sure to plan ahead accordingly so they are in effect before departure. The right preparations can go a long way in avoiding an unfortunate emergency.”
· Don’t be blindsided! Since January 2008, there have been plenty of polio outbreaks in over 15 countries including Sudan and Angola. Although there are different forms of polio, the vast majority of people who are infected by the virus do not become sick and are never aware that they have been infected. Signs and symptoms which generally last one to 10 days include: fever, sore throat, fatigue, muscle spasms or tenderness, and more.
If you contract a disease during or after a trip abroad, you should seek medical care right away. Be sure to provide the doctor or health care provider of any important information from your recent destination. Having the proper guidance and emergency resources can make all the difference, especially when traveling to destinations with significant medical or security risks.
• Stay Informed- Every country has had issues with outbreaks for certain diseases in the past. If you are looking to spend time in an unfamiliar country, it is a good idea to research past health risks and if any new diseases have arose over the years. Remaining “in the know” is the key to preventing any harm towards your health and also preventing anything that could cause others harm in your own country.
On Call International reports it offers a 24-hour nurse helpline which allows travelers to speak to a licensed nurse counselor about minor injuries, symptoms or general health and well-being.