The following information provides some recommendations and common-sense precautions to help you avoid potential health problems while abroad.
1. Travelers who take prescription medication should carry an adequate supply accompanied by a signed and dated statement from their health care provider. The statement should indicate major health problems as well as dosages of such medications. The medications should be listed in the generic form as European authorities may be unfamiliar with the trade names in this country. We can provide you with such documentation if necessary.
2. Tips to eliminate motion sickness include the following:
• Alter your visual stimuli (e.g. focus on horizon).
• At sea, stay mid-ship do not overindulge in food or drink and do not smoke.
• Stay in well ventilated areas
• Wear motion sickness wrist bands or take Dramamine as directed. Be aware that Dramamine may cause drowsiness.
3. The following is a list of defensive actions to take in a hotel fire:
• Call the hotel operator who will then notify the Fire Department.
• Roll out of bed. Do not jump up. Stay near the floor.
• Taking the room key, feel the door to hallway.
• If door is not hot, open and proceed to stairway. If clear, begin descent; if smoke filled, return to room.
• If door is hot, stay in room and fill bathtub with cold water. Turn off all heating and air-conditioning units and stuff water-soaked towels around doorway and vents.
• Open a window, do not break one; if fresh air enters, turn on bathroom vent; if smoke enters, hang sheet out window and signal and close window.
• If room fills with smoke, go into bathroom and close door.
4. If medical care is needed abroad, the American Embassy or Consulate can usually provide names of hospitals or physicians. Credit card companies provide 24 hour medical emergency hot lines as a membership benefit. Typically, the hot lines can refer you to English speaking doctors and dentists and to hospitals with English-speaking staff members; arrange for replacement of prescription medicines; and help you rent an air ambulance. To reach the hot lines, call the number on the back of your credit card. Prior to departure, you may also obtain information on emergency medical services by contacting any one of the following companies that specialize in assistance for medical care.
International SOS Assistance, Inc.
P.O. Box 11568
Philadelphia, PA 19116
1-800-523-8930 Ext. 110/111
The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
417 Center Street
Lewiston, N.Y. 14092
Worldwide Assistance Services, Inc.
1133 15th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
(800)821-2828 or (202)331-1609
5. Excessive heat and humidity may lead to heat exhaustion due to salt and water deficiency. Make sure drinkable fluids are always available. Wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with SPF 30-40 will provide additional protection
6. Use of flu vaccine when appropriate and antiseptic towelettes prior to eating can prevent a variety of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. Tuberculosis in general is of low risk to the travelers, but avoidance of crowded, poorly ventilated areas is recommended. Avoid excessive dust exposure which can cause stomach upset and airway irritation leading to shortness of breath and increased risk of infection.
7. Swimming in contaminated water may result in skin, eye, ear and certain intestinal infections. Generally, only pools that contain chlorinated water can be considered safe places to swim. Swimmers should avoid beaches that may be contaminated with human sewage or dog feces. Wading or swimming should be avoided in fresh water streams, canals, and lakes liable to be infested with snails or contaminated with urine from animals.
8. If you are spending an extended period of time in a country where the blood supply is not adequately screened for HIV or other infectious diseases it is often suggested that you bring a supply of needles and syringes in the event you need medical attention. We can provide you with the necessary supplies and a letter of permission to carry them if necessary.