Keep your health in mind when traveling abroad - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Keep your health in mind when traveling abroad

No matter where your travels may take you, it pays to be up-to-date with immunizations and prepare for health-related surprises. (Source: WAFF) No matter where your travels may take you, it pays to be up-to-date with immunizations and prepare for health-related surprises. (Source: WAFF)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

As the weather gets warmer, a lot people like to travel.

Whether you're traveling across the state, the country or the globe, there are some precautions you should take to make sure that trip is safe and healthy.

Juanita Healy is putting the finishing touches on her new business called "Keep Your Fork" on Moulton Street in Decatur. 

She and her partner are making certain all health rules are followed. She found out what can happen if they are not, during a business trip to Tokyo. 

"Our last day there, we stopped at one of the street vendors -and they're there every day- and we had smoked tuna," Juanita recalled. "And I had eaten all these wildly exotic foods in Japan, survived all of them... but just as I got on the airplane, I started to get sick."

Illness is not something you want to contend with halfway around the globe. 

"Finally, I took enough Phenergan to knock me out, but it was a 19-hour flight and I really just kind of wished I could die," she said.

Once back home, her doctor checked her out, and thought it was E. coli.

Juanita is in the process of getting her own cafe in order, and she says this is an experience she doesn't want anyone else to have.

She always travels with medicine and refuses to travel without the proper injections.

Doctors who specialize in travel clinics say you must be prepared. 

Dr. Scott Harris is a travel doctor who sees patients 6-8 weeks before they leave. 

"When you do travel, you need to exercise the same precautions you do here," said Dr. Harris. "Eat food that's cooked well and served hot. In travel, you'll probably get advice to take Immodium with you, just in case diarrhea comes up. There are some special cases where antibiotics are helpful."

He says most places don't have safe drinking water. 

"Hepatitis-A and typhoid are big problems that we see and we try to immunize people against that," the doctor said. 

Many places also have malaria, and Dr. Harris says some people leave their normal inhibitions at home. 

"We have actually seen a big problem with alcohol overuse or even sexually transmitted infections in travelers," said Dr. Harris.

He says the most serious health risk is not some weird tropical disease, but accidents. He says there are plenty of surprises which can take place. 

"Your health insurance doesn't always work if you're in another country. We always advise people to have at least medivac insurance which would pay for the cost of a med jet transporting you back," he said.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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