HOW CAN I TRAVEL SAFELY?
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.