Monday, September 14, 2009

China: Stay Healthy on Vacation

Getting ready for any trip takes months and weeks of research, planning and packing. While preparing all the activities, transportation, documentation and securing loose ends while you’re are away, don’t forget to prepare your health for the visit too! It is important to make the most of your trip by participating in all pre-planned activities rather than experiencing China from the hotel bathroom or a local medical center; so be safe, vaccinate!

Planning to stay healthy while you travel is the MOST important part of planning for your trip.

The best ways to ensure a safe and healthy trip are to be educated about the health risks in China and get vaccinated.

For travel to China, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends the following vaccinations:
Hepatitis A and B
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis
Rabies
Influenza
Measles/Mumps/Rubella
Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Typhoid
Polio
Pneumococcal
Yellow Fever- if coming from a country where yellow fever is present
• PPD Test
Japanese Encephalitis

Please make sure you get properly vaccinated as there are many diseases throughout China that can seriously affect your health. It is especially important to make sure you get anti-malarial medication and use the proper repellents containing the appropriate amount of DEET as Japanese Encephalitis are both mosquito borne illnesses.

Also, take precautions against drinking the water and make sure your food is thoroughly cooked.. Hepatitis B, Measles, Hand, Foot and Mouth disease and Rabies are all prevalent diseases in China. Bring properly vaccinated before you go can only protect you to an extent, knowing the diseases and how to prevent them when you are there are another way to stay safe.

Most of these vaccinations are routine for citizens of the USA and you have more than likely been adequately vaccinated for some, but it is important to see a travel medicine specialist to be sure you are prepared with the proper vaccinations and information to stay healthy in China.

Now that you know about all the diseases and viruses that have preventive vaccines, you are free to take other preventive measures for the rest of the "icky" things that can affect your trip.
  • Insect-Borne Diseases(Dengue Fever, Malaria): use appropriate repellents containing DEET, and prescribed Malaria medication.
  • Travelers' Diarrhea: use antibiotics and re hydration powders (diarrhea kit available at Passport Health)
  • Intestinal Infections: Swim only in properly chlorinated or salt water, wear shoes at all times (even on the beach), follow food and water precautions given by an expert.
  • Jet-Lag, Motion sickness, Altitude sickness: several different medications available
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: Remain properly hydrated during flight, get up frequently to stretch your legs to maintain circulation, consider wearing pressure gradient Travel Socks
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: Obtain appropriate Travel and Evacuation Insurance

Don't let the possibility of getting sick in China deter you from going. The best way to ensure safety and good health is to know the risks and take the right precautions against them.

Thank you to the CDC and our Travel Medicine Specialists for their contribution to this post.

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