Travel is the general movement of humans between different far away geographical locations. Travel can usually be done by car, bicycle, foot, train, bus, plane, boat or other transport means, with or without a suitcase, and is usually one-way or round trip. A common example of travel is a vacation to a tropical location, where you have no fixed itinerary, and you visit a variety of interesting and exotic locations, usually for short periods of time. You may also have overnight accommodations.
For all of these reasons, travel can present many different health risks, which should be investigated before any travel plans are made. Anyone intending to travel to a foreign country or another jurisdiction that is not familiar to them should get a copy of their national immunization schedule. The schedule can be obtained from the Immunization Information Service (IAIS) at your local pharmacy. All travelers should be up to date on their vaccinations as soon as possible because outbreaks of diseases can occur anywhere in the world at any time. In Canada, anyone traveling to Mexico or any South American country needs to have a visa before entering the country.
avoid long and extensive travel
Some medical conditions can make traveling much riskier than it would be for someone healthy. People with certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, should avoid traveling to countries where poor infrastructure and poor medical services are prevalent. Chronic medical conditions include cardiovascular and orthopedic diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and some auto-immune disorders; and those who smoke cigarettes or who are alcoholics should also avoid long and extensive travel, especially if they intend to remain in that country. People who are overweight or obese, or who have breathing or heart problems, are at a higher risk for acquiring a medical condition while traveling. Traveling during the winter months or at high altitudes can increase the likelihood of accidents and injury.
apply sunscreen lotion, large umbrellas, or a blanket
Anyone planning to travel to countries in South America, such as Peru, Brazil, or Bolivia, should be aware of the risks associated with walking around in the snow, in high altitudes, or after exposure to the sun. In the case of walking, individuals with chronic medical conditions or injuries should get a doctor’s recommendation before attempting to walk. Individuals with sunburns should carry large umbrellas or a blanket and should be sure to apply sunscreen lotion every step of the way. If one is unable to carry an umbrella, taking a large travel towel and placing it on a nearby pavement can help protect from the sun’s rays.
flu shot, booster shots
The risk of vaccines while traveling abroad increases when one is not fully immunized. For example, travelers abroad who have not had routine childhood vaccinations should get a flu shot, receive booster shots for any diseases they may have missed during the previous trip, or wait to have a flu shot once they arrive. Some travelers choose to forego getting a flu shot or booster because they believe they will not encounter any cases of illness while traveling. However, this is not necessarily true. It is quite common for children and elderly individuals to contract infections and other diseases when traveling abroad.
avoid contracting the illness
Common symptom travelers face when in countries with the endemic disease is flu-like symptoms. Individuals must take care when in these countries and avoid contracting the illness. Common symptoms of influenza include high fever, swollen lymph glands, headache, cough, sore throat, and sore stomach.