You’ve been planning an international trip for months. You have the destination picked and the perfect vacation rental right on the water. You got a deal on your airline ticket, and your passport doesn’t expire for another three years. You’ve stuffed your clothes into your luggage, including a few new outfits you bought for the trip. As you completed each of these tasks, you checked them off your to-do list with satisfaction. You’re all set to go, right?
Maybe not. If you didn’t schedule or even ask about travel immunizations, you could be at risk to contract a disease overseas or bring illness back to the United States. Not only is contracting a disease inconvenient and potentially life-threatening, it could be costly and affect a company’s bottom line.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unvaccinated travelers get measles and bring the disease home. While measles has been in the headlines recently with a 25-year-high 940 cases confirmed in 26 states, it’s not the only health concern you should protect yourself against when you leave the United States.
Since early 2018, a large outbreak of Yellow Fever in the area in and around Brazil has prompted a travel warning for people headed to that region and has caused a shortage in the vaccine. Other diseases that aren’t prevalent in the United States but you might come into contact with overseas include polio, hepatitis A and B, rabies and typhoid. Exactly what immunizations you’ll need vary depending on the part of the world to which you’re traveling, who you’re traveling with and what you plan to do while you’re there.
If you’re traveling for business, you could be at risk for different ailments than those traveling for leisure. According to estimates for 2017, 4.8 million U.S. residents traveled overseas for business. Since then, the number has increased even as the economy as become more global.
Business trips can put you at risk for other health concerns. Crunched for time, it’s not unusual for business travelers to take an overnight flight and then head right into a meeting the next morning. While leisure travelers take time to allow their bodies to adjust to jet lag, business travelers sometimes neglect taking time to rest.
The pressure of a big meeting or business partnership on the line, can trigger additional stress during travel. Take time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy meals, exercise, avoid alcohol and prioritize sleep. It’s also important to maintain good mental health when you’re away from home, so stay in regular contact with friends and family.
Eating new and different types of foods offers a way to explore other places and culture. If your travels put you in a developing country, use extra caution to ensure you don’t contract a foodborne illness. It might be tempting to grab food from a street vendor to experience the local flavor. But some vendors in other countries might not be held to the same hygiene standards as restaurants — which are still not equal to the standards in the United States.
When it comes to drinks, bottled is best and carbonated drinks, like sparkling water, would be the safest choice since the bubbles indicate the bottle was sealed at the factory. Avoid tap water, ice and raw fruits and vegetables grown and rinsed with water in developing countries.
Whether it’s for business, pleasure or a little of both, adding a few items to your to-do list and taking some precautions at your destination will ensure a safe and fun trip to wherever in the world your travels take you.