Travel Medicine (cont.)
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Why should travelers see a physician before they leave on a trip?
- What diseases occur in travelers, and how can disease be prevented?
- Traveler's diarrhea
- Meningococcal meningitis
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A
- Typhoid fever
- What about diseases for which there is no vaccine or preventive medication?
- What is safe to eat and drink while traveling?
- What can I do to avoid insect bites?
- What should be in my travel first aid kit?
- What are the medical concerns with jet lag?
- What if I have a medical condition or chronic disease?
- What if I'm pregnant?
- What about traveling with children?
- Where can I find additional information?
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
What is safe to eat and drink while traveling?
- In general, it is best not to drink tap water in a developing country.
- Ice is not safe in areas where the water supply may be contaminated. Freezing water does not destroy most infections.
- Boiled water and drinks made from boiled water (tea) are usually safe.
- Alcohol (beer, wine) is usually safe.
- Carbonated bottled water or sodas are usually safe. Uncarbonated bottled water may be safe, but even bottled water may be filled up from the local tap water source.
- Iodine tablets or commercially available water filters may be used to purify water when camping.
- In general, foods that you peel yourself (bananas) are safe.
- Hot, well-cooked foods are usually safe.
- Spices do not kill bacteria. Food can be so spicy that it burns your mouth and still cause traveler's diarrhea or more serious diseases.
- Foods that put the traveler at high risk for infection include undercooked meat and seafood.
- Foods washed in contaminated water may have a residue of bacteria.
What can I do to avoid insect bites?
- Wear light, protective clothing.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET (most popular brand-name insect repellents in the United States contain DEET). Reapply according to directions. When using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and then repellent.
- If you are hiking, tuck your pant leg into your sock. Check yourself over for ticks at the end of the hike.
- Use mosquito nets or window screens if they are available.
- Products that contain permethrin (NIX, an insect repellent) are available to spray on your clothes or tent for added protection.
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