Safaris and Study Abroad
Welcome to our first Healthy Travels blog where we’ll be sharing health and safety tips from Travel Health Nurse Lori Barker, MS, RN. Lori is certified both as an emergency nurse and a pediatric emergency nurse, and is highly knowledgeable on health risks associated with international travel and travel here in the U.S. She is available by appointment to help you and your family prepare for your trips with the appropriate vaccinations, medications, and information on healthy travel practices.
Right now, it’s that time of year when pleasure travelers are preparing to go on animal safari in southern Africa, and college students are planning to study abroad this summer or fall. If you are going on safari, you and Lori will be talking quite a bit about insect precautions, such as protective clothing and repellents. Mosquitoes can carry malaria, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, and Zika virus. Food and water precautions are also a main topic.
“Anywhere from 30% to 70% of international travelers going outside of Europe and North America develop traveler's diarrhea,” says Lori, “and this could seriously impact a much-anticipated trip. So can Hepatitis A and typhoid, which are both vaccine-preventable illnesses. Come see me for any immunizations you may need, and remember, some vaccines must be taken several days to weeks before you travel, so see me as soon as you know where you’re going.”
College students are also receiving tips on staying safe and healthy while abroad, completing their immunizations, and getting Lori’s advice on anti-malarial medications. Written trip reports include cultural considerations and local laws. She’ll talk about all of it with you.
If you’re traveling with children, keep in mind that they have a tendency to develop dehydration more quickly than adults. They are also vulnerable to a potential rabies exposure by nature of their curiosity and closeness to the ground. Lori will share tips with you on prevention and actions to take if something occurs. Family consultations are also available.
As always, wherever you go, carefully research your destination with regard to health and safety. Lori’s favorite sites include www.cdc.gov/travel for country-specific health information, travel.state.gov for country-specific security alerts, and the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a service of the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs. Or, visit Lori, and she’ll do the work for you!
While it is helpful to see a travel health specialist at least two weeks prior to travel, if not more, don’t let the clock stop you from making an appointment with our Travel Health Nurse. Even last-minute travelers can benefit the day of departure! We’re here to help you enjoy your trip. If you visited Lori, feel free to send us pictures!
Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Occupational Medicine
Travel Medicine, a Service of Saratoga Hospital
518-886-5419 (Wednesdays and Fridays)
For more information, go to www.saratogahospital.org.