HOW CAN I TRAVEL SAFELY?

Scuba Diving - - Currents - BY DIVERS ALERT NET­WORK FOR MORE SAFE-TRAVEL TIPS, VISIT DAN.ORG/HEALTH.

Q HOW’S THE WA­TER?

A While divers are al­most uni­ver­sally con­cerned with ocean con­di­tions in their des­ti­na­tion of choice, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the safety of lo­cal drink­ing wa­ter can vary dra­mat­i­cally be­tween lo­ca­tions, and even be­tween sea­sons in the same lo­ca­tion. Avoid wa­ter­borne mal­adies by fol­low­ing the old trav­eler’s adage: “boil it, cook it, peel it, or for­get it.” Do not drink lo­cal tap wa­ter in ar­eas where wa­ter san­i­ta­tion might be a con­cern.

Q HAVE YOU HAD YOUR SHOTS?

A Many des­ti­na­tions, not just the trop­i­cal ones, carry risk of con­ta­gious dis­eases, mak­ing vac­ci­na­tions vi­tal to en­sur­ing good health on your trav­els. You can get de­tailed info about con­cerns spe­cific to your des­ti­na­tion from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, or the DAN Med­i­cal Line, but you can’t wait un­til the day be­fore your trip to be­gin prep­ping. Some vac­ci­na­tions may re­quire sev­eral vis­its to a doc­tor’s of­fice, and it’s wise to be squared away for your trip weeks ahead of time. Your lo­cal physi­cian, travel clinic, or hos­pi­tal should be able to look at your im­mu­niza­tion records and work with you to plan for your safety in your des­ti­na­tion of choice.

Q WHAT ABOUT MOS­QUI­TOES?

A Mos­quito-borne dis­eases can have se­ri­ous health con­se­quences. Mos­qui­toes thrive in a va­ri­ety of cli­mates, and “trop­i­cal” dis­eases are com­ing back to ar­eas in de­vel­oped coun­tries where they were pre­vi­ously erad­i­cated. The most ef­fec­tive way to mit­i­gate your risk is to check with the CDC or WHO for travel and pro­phy­lac­tic rec­om­men­da­tions, and then do your best to avoid be­ing bit­ten in the first place. Us­ing an el­e­vated bed, mos­quito screen­ing, DEET re­pel­lent, and per­me­thrin-treated and pro­tec­tive cloth­ing can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce your risk of mos­quito bites and ex­po­sure to malaria or dengue fever.

For many of us, it’s the per­fect time of year to pack a bag and travel to our fa­vorite va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion. Whether off to an is­land to dive or just hit­ting the beach to thaw out a lit­tle, keep in mind that trop­i­cal cli­mates pose spe­cific haz­ards to trav­el­ers. With plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion, these can be eas­ily mit­i­gated, and you can keep safe, healthy and happy on va­ca­tion.

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