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22
FEB

Spring Break, All Grown Up

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 9:06 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Vacation Destination

You’ve been dreaming of it since the first icy gust bit through your jacket, sending chills up and down your body. Every time you pull on a bulky sweater and extra thick socks you imagine that you are donning your swimsuit, preparing to run onto a hot, sandy beach and languish in the sun for hours. You order Coronas, margaritas and Malibu Bay Breezes hoping that the tropical taste will give way to the actual tropics. You spend hours dreaming, pining and praying for warmth, but now, that can all end. Your winter getaway is nearly here. Soon, you will be on your way to South America, Mexico, the Caribbean – anywhere, but here. It will be an amazing vacation, one that will leave you toasty and happy until spring . . . unless, of course, you get sick.

Up to fifty percent of international travelers experience diarrhea while abroad.  Others catch bugs from infected insects or unsanitary public areas, such as the bus or train. More still are hit with unexpected migraines, stomach discomfort and bouts of seasickness (if they are on a boat, that is), and the vast majority are unprepared. They hadn’t thought of the dangers that accompany such trips, imagining a journey south of the border as simple as one north. As such, the illnesses take hold of their vacation and their body, ruining it in one fell swoop or even worse, destroying their homecoming, leaving them weak and ill just as they are supposed to return to work. The same could happen to you, unless you take the following steps now, before you board the plane, and once you get there to protect your health:

• Visit a health professional – it doesn’t have to be your doctor, although it could be; you simply want to see a health professional who has an understanding of the area you are visiting. He’ll be able to tell you of the pertinent risks and precautions.
• Pack and wear insect repellant with about 30 percent DEET – biting insects can easily infect you with a disease that could, at first, seem like nothing more than the flu but is actually something deadly serious, such as malaria or dengue fever, as it was in one recent case in California.
• Take any medications or remedies you may need – if you are going to be on a boat, pack motion sickness pills or an alternative treatment such as ginger. If you are prone to headaches, don’t forget the Tylenol, and always pack something for gastro problems. There is nothing worse than being ill in a strange city with no clue as to where to find relief.
• While there, drink bottled water – other health issues aside, this is the best way to avoid contamination. You also want to stay away from any food that has not been boiled, cooked or peeled.
• Be smart – you know what may make you sick, so avoid it. Don’t leave your health to fate; leave it to intelligence.

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