Chances of international travel have gone up manifold in the last few years. However, one cannot deny that travel puts people at potential risk of a number of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya and even zika as well as monsoon diseases when travelling to tropical countries. However, unfortunately, most people do not seek out health advice as they plan their next adventure. Asking questions regarding travel plans opens in routine visits to the doctors can open up opportunities to assess possible risks as well as imbibe information regarding vaccinations and medications before visiting places.
Vaccinations: It is important that travellers are up-to-date on all the routine vaccines including measles, mumps, and even the seasonal flu vaccines. It is important to determine what kind of vaccine is needed as according to the destination on is visiting.
For patients who are over 12 years of age and are travelling to international destinations, administer measles-containing vaccine if they do not have it already. Infants between 6-11 months of age who will be traveling internationally with their parents should be given one dose of MMR vaccine before embarking on their international trip.
Insect Bites: Insect bites can transmit a variety of viruses, including mosquito-borne Zika, dengue, yellow fever, or malaria; tick-borne Lyme disease or spotted fevers, among others to international travellers. It is important travelers use a registered repellent or mosquito repellent with ingredients like DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-3,8-diol, or 2-undecanone when visiting tropical places. However, for a virus like Zika, it continues to be a potential risk in many countries across the world.
If the traveller is pregnant or is planning a pregnancy, they should be aware of potential delays in identifying an outbreak, willingness to take protective measures, type of accommodations during travel, type and length of possible exposure. Pregnant women should avoid visiting places that have been marked as having a zika outbreak.
Food and water safety: Contaminated food and drinks could be a major source of contracting monsoon diseases for travellers. Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases plague travellers are lot especially when travelling to developing countries. Travelers should eat food that is cooked and served hot, or consume food from sealed packages. They should avoid drinking tap water and bottled water is a far safer choice.