Pre-trip Precautions and You: Safe Travel Preparations

1/13/2017 4:22:18 PM

Planning a trip to a distant dive destination can be daunting. After you’ve dealt with the endless minutia of logistics, you need to educate yourself on not only the health hazards of your destination, but your susceptibility to travel related illnesses. The good news is that travel doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take preparation, and careful consideration of specific risks. Here is a guide to what you can do before you travel to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to your favorite dive destination.

Visit a Travel Clinic
Receiving appropriate preventative treatment and advice can go a long way toward reducing your health risks. Your exposure to disease will vary depending on your location, and the nature of your trip. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a qualified healthcare provider at least four to six weeks before your trip to discuss travel related health concerns, vaccinations that you may need, and potential areas of concern. Be sure to discuss with your physician any drugs you wish to consider taking with you, and how they may affect your diving, or your health while travelling. Location specific concerns, like malaria, altitude sickness, or location of medical assistance should also be discussed.

Take Resources with you
You may be travelling where you’ll have access to online resources like this one. If you’ll be spending time off the beaten path, especially if you are planning activities that increase your risk of injury, make sure to carry a hard-copy of a respected travel medical guide. DAN can always help members assemble relevant information and advice. To access a wealth of expert health and travel guidance, just log in to your DAN account.

Check your vaccinations
It is difficult to offer generalized vaccination recommendations, and a comprehensive recommendation is beyond the scope of this guide, but the list below will give you a sense of the some of the common and important concerns that you should discuss with your physician as you review your immunization records prior to your trip. It is advisable that you pay particular attention to routine vaccinations such as tetanus and diphtheria, measles, polio, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and influenza. A pre-travel test for tuberculosis exposure is also recommended. Other vaccinations may depend on your destination, and your planned activities.

Vaccine

Length of immunity

Special use

Cholera

2-5 years

No vaccine available in the U.S. Check with World Health Organization for more information.

Diphtheria

Up to 10 years

Often combined with pertussis and tetanus vaccinations.

Influenza

Up to one year

Recommended annually for children and adults

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

Lifetime

Some adults may need a booster

Meningococcal Meningitis

Lifetime

Travelers to areas where the disease is endemic should be vaccinated

Polio

Booster given if exposure is possible

Unvaccinated adults travelling to specific areas may need a booster

Typhoid

Booster every 2-5 years

Recommended for travelers in areas where typhoid is common

Yellow Fever

Booster every 10 years

Strongly recommended for travelers headed to areas where yellow fever is endemic

 

For more information on travel health and safety, visit DAN.org/Health.