Being Prepared

How can you prepare for medical problems during travel?

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1. Make sure your routine immunizations are up-to-date.

Have you received a tetanus vaccine within the past 5 years?

Yes

No.

If you were born after 1957, can you confirm that you received two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (one at 18 months and during adolescence)?

Yes

No.

Have you received a series of three injections against hepatitis B?

Yes

No.

Have you ever been immunized against hepatitis A?

Yes

No.

If you are 60 years or older, have you received Pneumovax (the "pneumonia" vaccine?

Yes

No.

If you are 60 years or older, have you considered having the zoster (shingles) vaccine?

Yes

No.

2. Consider consulting a travel specialty clinic if you are visiting a developing country or countries.

3. Assemble a travel medical kit.

Categories

Specific options

For pain or fever

acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve)

For gastrointestinal problems

loperamide (Imodium), antacid tablets, a mild laxative, oral rehydration packets

For respiratory problems

an antihistamine +/- decongestant, cough suppressant/expectorant, throat lozenges

For skin problems

- insect repellant
- alcohol hand-rub or towelettes
- sunscreen (SPF 15 or more)
- antifungal/antibacterial ointments or creams
- anti-itch gel or cream for insect bites and stings
- aloe gel for sunburns

For basic first aid

- an antiseptic solution or gel
- cotton swabs (Q-tips)
- a variety of Band-Aids, or gauze with adhesive tape
- moleskin (for blisters)
- scissors
- tweezers
- digital thermometer
- disposable gloves (2 pair)
- saline eye drops

Other optional items

- medication for motion sickness
- a sleep aid
- Epi-Pen for travelers with severe allergy history
- extra glasses or contact lenses
- latex condoms
- water purification tablets

Destination-specific items

- antimalarial medication
- antibiotic self-treatment for travelers diarrhea
- preventive medication for high-altitude illness
- prescription medications (see below)

4. Make sure that you are prepared to travel with any prescription medications

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