Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

Air Health Travel tips from … AirHealth.org

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Frequent (and infrequent) flyers will want to review the excellent Air travel health tips at AirHealth.org.   You’ll find information about warning signs during air travel that can indicate serious health conditions as well as general tips on keeping healthy during long flights.

A few general tips are to exercise during your long flights using “isometric” exercise where you pit one muscle against another, pushing your hands together for example.  Another approach is to “walk” in place, pushing down on the floor with one foot after another.  You’ll also want to take a few walks up and downthe isle during your flight, perhaps adding a few ‘laps’ during trips to the restroom.

Also be sure to keep hydrated – it’s easy to dry out during the flight, so make sure you drink at least as much as offered by the flight attendants.  Note that you can always have a beverage *and* a glass of ice water – just ask politely.

Sleeping on the plane is another important health issue, especially on very long flights.   I find that neck pillows and earplugs are a great sleep aid.   Dramamine or an antihistamine like Sudafed will also help if you have trouble sleeping.

Travelers Health from USA’s Center for Disease Control

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Several months before your next international trip you’ll want to make sure you are properly vaccinated and prepared for the particularly nasty bugs we don’t have to worry about much here in the USA.    In general terms the number of vaccines you’ll need will go up as the standard of living goes down in the countries you are visiting.

[CLICK HERE FOR cdc.gov Travelers Health Section]

On my February trip to Southeast Asia I got a DPT booster shot, took Typhus pills (which confer longer term immunity than shots) and got the standard “Hepatitis A” shots – all are illnesses that are very serious.  Typhus and Hepatitis A come from food or poor sanitation.   I learned late, after being told it was not needed, that Hepatitis B is also advisable in most cases.

I did choose not to take anti-malarial drugs, somewhat against the advice of the county health department (which here in Southern Oregon is the authority for international travel medical issues).   This was mostly because I knew I would not be traveling in areas of high malaria incidence.    Also, there are some nasty side effects from these drugs  and other issues and it seemed few experienced travelers take them for big cities in SE Asia.    Anti Malarials are certainly advisable for parts of SE Asia and for much of Africa.

I do have friends who travel a lot in the developing world but do NOT get many vaccines.   My feeling is that they are simply lucky, and dodging these disease bullets is a big mistake.

In any case this is a very important consideration in your travels.   Vaccinations – don’t leave home without ’em!