One size fits a few, but not you: It’s important to be conscious of your own health needs. Don’t leave your health preparations to the last minute, as some vaccines are issued over a course. Tell your medical provider to consider what you will be doing abroad, your own health history, and what you know about health concerns in your destination. Be your own advocate: ask specific questions about your doctor’s recommendations: What does this prevent? How effective are these vaccinations? What are the possible consequences of choosing not to be vaccinated? Obtain a traveler’s script of antibiotics and make sure you know when (and when not) to use them. Copy a record of your vaccination history, include the list of your regular medications, their dosage and frequency and pack this with your travel documents. Besides helping the medical providers with accurate diagnosis in case of illness, this is an organizational courtesy for your travel companions communicating health concerns on your behalf.
Valuable Travel Health Web Resources
- Consult the Center for Disease Control “Destinations”
- The Lonely Planet Thorntree Forum and TripAdvisor.com are great places to pose questions.
- The World Health Organization is essential reading for the rogue backpacker traveler.
- Conde Nast’s medical editor provides some basic vaccine suggestions for the “Urban and Upscale” itineraries.