Man and women looking at travel information

With the
summer travel season in full flight, UCLA Health experts are offering health tips,
travel vaccines and consultations to ensure your dream vacation does not become
a travel health nightmare.  

“There are simple precautions you can take to prevent unnecessary suffering when traveling,” advises Jennifer Yeung, MD, a UCLA internal medicine and pediatric specialist at the UCLA Health Brentwood medical practice.

Travel vaccines

Dr. Jennifer Yeung

Dr. Yeung suggests visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel website to determine if any vaccines or malaria pills are necessary for your destination when traveling outside the U.S.

Recent measles outbreaks have prompted the CDC to recommend that people traveling internationally get their titers checked to verify immunity or a measles booster, she adds. Infants traveling outside the U.S. also can get an early measles vaccination, but not until they are at least 6 months old.

“Many of
our UCLA Health offices offer travel-consultation appointments and
vaccinations,” Dr. Yeung says. “Ideally, appointments should be scheduled one
month before your trip to ensure adequate immunity.”

Stay healthy in flight

Dr. Anuradha Seshadri

“Studies show that bacteria thrive on an airplane’s pull-down trays, armrests and bathroom door handles,” says Anuradha Seshadri, MD, internal medicine and pediatric specialist at the UCLA Health Century City medical office. “Bring sanitizing wipes to use on these surfaces after you find your seat and take along a small container of hand gel to use periodically.”

Additionally,
Dr. Seshadri recommends getting up and walking about the cabin at least once
every two hours during longer flights to prevent blood clots from forming in
your legs. You also should consider wearing compression socks to reduce your
risk and limiting caffeinated and alcoholic beverages because they can cause
dehydration.

Food Precautions

When
traveling to a foreign country, Dr. Yeung recommends avoiding raw foods, such
as uncooked vegetables and peeled fruit, as well as unpasteurized dairy
products. “Don’t eat foods left out in the sun because heat promotes the growth
of bacteria,” she explains. “And stick to bottled water, if possible, in
certain destinations where the water supply may be unsafe for visitors.”

Prevent motion sickness

“If you
are prone to queasiness while traveling by cruise ship, train or car, certain over-the-counter
medications or a prescription patch can help,” says Dr. Seshadri. When booking
a cruise ship cabin, she adds, request a room with a window located mid-ship,
where you are less likely to feel its rocking motion.

Be safe from Zika

This
mosquito-borne virus increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and birth
defects in pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant. To thwart
mosquitos, use a repellant that contains DEET and wear long pants and shirts.

According
to the American Academy of Pediatrics, repellants with 10 to 30-percent DEET
are safe and effective for children older than two months when used per
directions on product labels.

“Zika is
still very present in many parts of the world,” Dr. Yeung says, with cases
reported in Texas, Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean islands, the Bahamas, Africa
and Central and South America. Before traveling, check the CDCP website for an
updated list of affected areas.

Pack wisely, be prepared

Never put
prescription medicines in your checked luggage. “If your luggage gets lost, it
can take several days for the airlines to locate it or for your prescription to
get refilled,” explains Dr. Seshadri. “It’s always best to keep medications in
your carry-on bags.”

Both
physicians recommend bringing an emergency medical kit stocked with bandages, pain
relievers, medication for diarrhea, nausea and allergies, and creams for
rashes, mosquito bites and sunburn.

For more
information about the UCLA Health medical practices near you, visit www.uclahealth.org.

Tags: 50 plus program, Aging, Dr. Anuradha Seshadri, Dr. Jennifer Yeung, internal medicine, measles, measles vaccination, UCLA Health Brentwood, UCLA Health Century City, Wellness


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