Friday, July 25, 2008

Beijing Olympics & Health Part II

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Shanghai–Essential vaccinations for Shanghai living (http://www.worldlink-shanghai.com/vaccinations.php) include: Influenza, Hep A & B, Varicella(chicken pox), Typhoid fever, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Japanese Encephalitis. Hepatitis A is a liver disease contracted from contaminated food and water with symptoms including fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, upset stomach, stomach pain, dark urine, as well as yellowing of the skin and eyes. The CDC recommends getting the Hep A vaccine, which consists of 2 shots, as well as eating foods that are well cooked and drinking bottled beverages. Hepatitis B is a liver disease contracted by contact with blood or other bodily fluids from an infected person. The virus called Hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause life long infection, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, failure or in worst cases, death. The CDC recommends getting your Hepatitis B vaccine which is available for all ages in the United States.

Qinhuangdao – Mosquitoes are a problem in this city. A survey was conducted at Qinhuangdao Port to determine if the mosquitoes in the country were coming via ship and the majority were found positive for mosquitoes at 57% (417/734) *. Precautions should be taken using repellant containing DEET applied to the skin, as well as spraying clothing with permethrin.

Tianjin – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreaks reported. If infected, the CDC recommends the same treatment that would be given to a patient that was diagnosed with a community- acquired atypical pneumonia as mentioned previously.

Shenyang – Air pollution is a serious concern for Shenyang residents, the poor air quality results in respiratory diseases such as bronchial asthma and wheeze. Ways to avoid respiratory problems include avoiding heavy activity during the hottest times of the day, and wearing a particle mask if you feel like you are at risk and unable to get indoors. HPV is also fairly common in Shenyang, with a study conducted in the city on 685 females aged 15-59 years old finding HPV in 16.8% overall, and 13.6% in women without cervical abnormalities. HPV is the most common STI (sexually transmitted infection) and infects the skin and mucous membranes for both males and females. The majority of people who have HPV are unaware they have it. HPV can cause genital warts as well as some forms of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer does not have symptoms until it is at advanced stages, so it is important for women to get checked regularly by their physicians. Condoms are one way to decrease the risk of HPV when used during sexual intercourse. The best way to prevent HPV is through vaccination which consists of three injections over a six month period.

For more information on preparing for travel overseas travelers can contact Passport Health, a company dedicated and specializing in travel medicine and health with locations throughout the continental United States. Passport Health offers services including travel information on countries and cultures all over the world, travel kits with items from anti-diarrheal medicine to bug lotion and spray with DEET, as well as recommendations and the ability to provide any vaccinations travelers may need when traveling outside of the United States. To find your nearest Passport Health location call (1-888) 499-PASS or visit http://www.passporthealthusa.com/

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympics & Health

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With the opening ceremonies being held on August 8th, Beijing is preparing to host the 2008 summer Olympics. Along with Beijing, six other locations will host events including: Qingdao, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Qinhuangdao, Tianjin and Shenyang. As athletes, celebrities and civilians prepare to travel to this years games, the awareness of cultural practices and health concerns are amongst the travelers’ everyday thoughts. Depending on where people decide to travel to observe or participate in the events, specific precautions and procedures must be taken to ensure they will protect themselves against disease and illness while away from their home countries. With the official slogan of this years games as “One world, one dream”. Beijing would like to be remembered as a worry-free city and host, and avoid the media informing the rest of the world of any preventable diseases or sicknesses spreading through the heavily populated area during the summer games.

A record 202 countries participated in the previous summer Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece and this years events will be sure to be a highly covered and viewed event worldwide. This also means that with the added number of visitors to the already densely populated city, illness can spread quickly and easily through the cities residents. The following list includes the locations events will be held and the most common diseases as well as information on what you can do to help prevent contracting the disease or illnesses:

Qingdao – SARS and Influenza. SARS is an airborne illness spread by close interpersonal contact through respiratory droplets. The best advice to avoid contracting the illness is to avoid those infected, stay away from people who are coughing or displaying symptoms and avoid sharing food or beverages with others when traveling or being around unfamiliar people. If infected, the CDC recommends the same treatment that would be given to a patient that was diagnosed with a community- acquired atypical pneumonia. Influenza also known as the flu, affects 5-20% of the U.S. population every year according to the CDC, and is best prevented with a yearly vaccination.

Hong Kong – The number of Mosquitoes in the area has been increasing. This increase has caused related illnesses such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. In Hong Kong’s earlier years as a British colony, malaria was a “major killer”. The pig-borne disease Streptococcus suis has also become a recent concern for Hong Kong residents, with symptoms including fever, headache and neck pain. SARs has also been a medical issue for Hong Kong’s residents over the past few years. Dengue Fever is transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which typically likes to feed in daylight. Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, accompanied by severe headache, muscle and joint pain as well as rash. There are no current vaccines available, however, contracting the disease from mosquitoes can be avoided by using mosquito spray with DEET on your skin and spraying clothing with permethrin. Japanese encephalitis is also transmitted by mosquitoes, with symptoms including changes in mood, headache and fever accompanied by weakness. People bitten rarely display these symptoms, however in some cases they can occur. Japanese Encephalitis is vaccine preventable through a series of 3 shots. The CDC recommends this vaccine series if you are planning on traveling to China for more than 30 days.

For more information on preparing for travel overseas travelers can contact Passport Health, a company dedicated and specializing in travel medicine and health with locations throughout the continental United States. Passport Health offers services including travel information on countries and cultures all over the world, travel kits with items from anti-diarrheal medicine to bug lotion and spray with DEET, as well as recommendations and the ability to provide any vaccinations travelers may need when traveling outside of the United States. To find your nearest Passport Health location call (1-888) 499-PASS or visit http://www.passporthealthusa.com/