Travelling in the Year of the Rabbit

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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For many people in the US, travelling to visit our loved ones start in November for Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and then ends with New Year in early January.

Those who are however observing the lunar calendar still has another major holiday coming. The start of the year of the rabbit/hare is on Feb 3. For many people, this is going to be a very special day, a time to spend with loved ones even if they have to fly half away across the world. As I did last year, I bring you some tips on travelling during the Lunar New Year.

Health authorities are expecting a lot of people to visit Asia for the Lunar New Year celebrations. Here are some recommendations for you to be safe, healthy, and happy during your trip.

How to have a healthy and happy lunar new year.

  • Check with a doctor familiar with travel medicine. He or she can tell you what you would need depending on your destination.
  • Get your shots updated. You should take your vaccination records with you so the doctor can check which booster shots you need.
  • Take extra care when traveling with children since the young ones are more susceptible to diseases and are not very particular about hygiene.
  • Be sure you have your necessary medications for the whole duration of the trip. In addition, ask your doctor for a prescription for your drugs with the generic name and dosage clearly printed.
  • Check your health insurance coverage. Does it cover health costs outside your home country?
  • Learn something about the health care system of your destination. Do they have reliable health care facilities?
  • Be sure to take preventive measures.
    • Mosquito-borne diseases. These infections (e.g. malaria, dengue) are common in Asia. Prevention includes mosquito nets and insect repellents.
    • Flu. The flu season is not yet over. Observe strict hygiene, even on the airplane. You are not allowed to carry liquid hand sanitizer on board but wet wipes with disinfectant will do the job as well. Wearing surgical masks is widely accepted in Asia so do not be embarrassed to wear one if required.
    • Food-borne diseases. Traveler’s diarrhea , typhoid fever, and hepatitis A are just a few of the diseases that you can get by consuming contaminated food and water. Pay attention to what you eat.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) is especially concerned about avian or bird flu which originated in Asia. Thus, the following recommendations are given to prevent catching the bird flu:

Do not go to bird farms or live bird markets.

Avoid touching—

Live birds, including chickens, ducks, and wild birds, even if they do not seem sick.

Dead or sick chickens, ducks, or any other birds.

Surfaces that have bird droppings, blood, or other body fluids on them.

Make sure the meat and other foods from birds that you eat, like eggs and poultry blood, are fully cooked. Egg yolks should not be runny or liquid. Visit the Safe Food and Water page on the Travelers’ Health website for more information.

Keep raw meats away from other foods.

After touching raw poultry or eggs, wash your hands and all surfaces, dishes, and utensils thoroughly with soap and water.

Finally, even after you come back home, continue to monitor your and your family’s health for another ten days. Any illnesses within this period might be related to your recent travels. Malaria, on the other hand, can develop months after traveling. Be sure to inform your doctor about your recent travels.

The CDC gives the following links to resources for Americans traveling abroad but these links contain a lot of useful information for everybody.


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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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