Health care updates, August 13: getting ill during vacation



Isn’t it annoying when one gets sick or catches a bug while on vacation? Check out some examples below.

WHO Recommendations for the Post-pandemic Period
Travelers need not be too concerned anymore about the pandemic H1N1 swine flu although the threat is not yet over. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this week that the H1N1 pandemic is over although the H1N1 (2009) virus is expected to continue to circulate as a seasonal virus for some years to come. We are now in the so-called post-pandemic period, for which WHO issued guidance on “recommended activities during the post-pandemic period, including advice on epidemiological and virological monitoring, vaccination, and the clinical management of cases.”
As of August 1, 2010, more than 18,449 laboratory confirmed deaths in more 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have been attributed to the pandemic influenza H1N1 2009.

Don’t bring home malaria
Vacations in tropical countries are great but health experts warn about bringing home the wring souvenirs such as tropical diseases. There is the well-publicized case of British pop star Cheryl Cole who caught the tropical disease in Tanzania. Malaria is common in many parts of Asia and Africa. According to Dr. David Townes of the University of Washington: “It is important to consider not only destination, but specific itinerary, type of travel, activities, and accommodations.”
Check out the traveller’s tips of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on malaria and other tropical diseases.

A hep shot
Hepatitis diseases are infections of the liver. There are many types of hepatitis. Perhaps the most common and easily contracted, yet the easiest to prevent and treat is hepatitis A. Travellers are especially at risk of catching this viral infection due to contaminated food and drinks. The hepatitis A vaccine has been available since the mid-1990s and can be given starting at 12 months of age but should be renewed periodically. According to Trudy Murphy of the CDC:

The vaccine is also recommended for people who are most at risk of having the infection, including travelers and people who have liver disease or clotting disorders.”

Kids and ruptured appendixes
Friends of ours had to cut short their summer vacation when their daughter had appendicitis. Fortunately, it wasn’t ruptured. Although people may take appendicitis for granted, a ruptured appendix can be dangerous, as it can lead to life-threatening sepsis. Apparently, children are more likely to have ruptured appendixes than adults, and African-American, followed by Hispanic children are more susceptible than white children, according to researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). There are other factors involved aside from ethnicity, says AHRQ researcher Karen Ho:

“Poverty also plays a role. Children living in poor communities were 26 percent more likely to be hospitalized for this condition than those living in higher-income communities.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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