Your Health Guide For Staying Well While Traveling Abroad

stay healthy while traveling

Dodging polio or malaria while overseas starts with prevention. The following is a preventative guide for staying healthy while traveling abroad and tips on what to do if you get sick in a foreign country.

Trip Prep Basics

  • Learn what you’re up against. Crossing an ocean to a foreign land can expose your health to vulnerabilities and risk for infection. Learn about your destination by accessing the Consular Information Program’s Country Specific Information by the State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS). Click on the map to see the health and medical considerations of your destination country.
  • Get vaccinations and immunizations. Catching measles, mumps or rubella can seriously wreck your trip. Get the appropriate shots to prevent diseases such as the food and water-borne hepatitis A. Make sure your vaccination records are up-to-date and visit Travelers’ Health by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about travel-related diseases and essential country-specific vaccines and medicines. The World Health Organization also provides a health profile for WHO countries.
  • Visit your doctor or a travel health expert at a specialized travel medicine clinic. After researching your destination country, talk to a specialist about your current health status, individual risk factors and mandatory or recommended vaccines. You’ll also need an International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as Yellow Card.
  • Check your health insurance policy and available medical services. Imagine paying around $10,000 for a medical evacuation. You’ll want to prepare for an unexpected illness or accident with short-term travel medical insurance. Ask what type of medical services are available during an emergency while dealing with a foreign medical system. The U.S. Passports & International Travel and Bureau of Consular Affairs site offers a list of U.S.-based travel insurance companies for overseas travelers. The CDC also details everything you need to know about travel health insurance and medical evaluation insurance.
  • Prepare prescription medications. Ask your physician for proper medical documentation or records and carry medications in your carry-on bag in their originally prescribed containers. Make sure to bring emergency refills, extra doses and the contact information of your doctor and pharmacist.

If You Get Sick While Abroad

  • Use your tablet for research. For instance, diarrhea is a common health problem, and 30 to 70 percent of travelers experience it in the high-risk regions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Before you seek medical attention for a non-emergency health problem, look into MeMD online for a diagnosis of common medical ailments and treatments like diarrhea, allergies, earache, fever, and nausea. If your problem persists or worsens, consult professional medical help.
  • Visit a pharmacy for a diagnosis of run-of-the-mill conditions and remedies. European travel expert Rick Steves also recommends that European travelers go to a hospital for life-threatening emergencies and clinics for non-emergency health problems. If you’re charged a fee, you may have to pay out of pocket, despite having medical insurance. Return home with a copy of the bill to file a claim for reimbursement, and contact your travel insurance as soon as possible to report the injury.
  • Contact the US embassy. Register with the US embassy in your destination country by creating an account with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Consular officers can help provide medical assistance and even aid in funds transfers. Medical care resources recommended by the CDC also include the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (you’ll need a membership) and the Joint Commission International.

Problem? There’s a Pill for That. Well, Maybe…

Over the past few decades, medical advances have improved the quality–and length–of life for millions. And we’ve gotten so used to relying on pills that we’ve gotten ourselves into some serious trouble. In short, we’re taking way more medication than we need to. And our health is suffering as a result. The infographic below illustrates […]

The Ethics—and Dangers—of Prescribing ADHD Meds to Kids Who Don’t Need Them

adhd meds for kids who don't need them is a bad idea

adhd meds for kids who don't need them is a bad ideaIt’s pretty widely accepted these days that too many young children—especially boys—are being diagnosed with ADHD. And it’s just as widely accepted that too many of those children are taking too much medication. Still, for the kids who truly need the medication, there are tremendous benefits. But ADHD meds are stimulants and they’re now being taken by kids who don’t have ADHD but who think taking the drugs will improve their concentration and, consequently, their GPA.

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Alternatives to ADD Meds + Young Adults in Rehab + Bilingual Advantage + Sending Kids to College

[amazon asin=0393343162&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Marilyn Wedge, author of Pills Are Not for Preschoolers.
Topic: A drug-free approach for troubled kids.
Issues: Understanding that there are almost always alternative treatments methods other than medication for troubled kids; the need to change the language mental health professionals use to classify behaviors and feelings.


[amazon asin=1616492643&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Joseph Lee, author of Recovering My Kid.
Topic: Parenting young adults in treatment and beyond.
Issues: What is addiction? How do we cope when a child returns home from treatment? How can parents support his or her recovery? How can the family be supportive during the recovery process? What if the child relapses?


[amazon asin=1400023343&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Barbara Zurer Pearson, author of Raising a Bilingual Child.
Topic: A step by step guide for parents.
Issues: The tremendous advantages bilinguals have in the business world; the advantages of a bilingual upbringing and how it can enhance a child’s intellectual development; how children learn language and how it differs from the way adults learn.


[amazon asin=0933165161&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 4: Marie Pinak Carr, author of Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual.Topic: What parents need to know before sending a child off to college.
Issues: Getting your child (and yourself) prepared to cope with finances and budgeting, insurance issues, homesickness, long-distance physical illness, roommate troubles; what to do—and how to protect yourself—when the unexpected happens.

Young Kids More Likely to Be Diagnosed with ADHD–and Medicated

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how young children—especially boys—are being overdiagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and overmedicated.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics adds another wrinkle. Not all kids are equally likely to be diagnosed and medicated. In fact, those in the youngest third of their class are 50 percent more likely to be prescribed a drug for ADHD than the older kids in the class.

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New Diabetes Prescription + Be the Mom + Sergeant Major of the Army + Nat Mil Fam Assn

[amazon asin=098254412X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Aaron Snyder, author of The New Diabetes Prescription.
Topic: Taking control of your diabetes—instead of having it control you.
Issues: Is it possible to cure or reverse diabetes? How you can stabilize you blood sugar, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, lose weight, regain energy, control your emotional eating, and get off as much medication as possible.


[amazon asin=1589976843&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Tracey Lanter Eyster, author of Be the Mom.
Topic: Overcome attitude traps and enjoy your kids.
Issues: Seven “mom traps” that moms often fall into (martyr moms, busy moms, mirror moms, and more); how to avoid and escape those traps in your own life.

Interviews with:

  • Guests 3: Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler III, and Jeanne Chandler
  • Guest 4: Michelle Joyner, National Military Family Associationwww.militaryfamily.org/


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