Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Liver care while travelling

Before your trip:
Talk to your doctor or an expert in travel medicine about health risks in the area you plan to visit. They can tell you how to keep yourself healthy when you travel to places where certain illnesses are a problem. They also can tell you about places that might not be safe for you to visit. Ask them if they know of doctors who treat people with liver-related infections in the region you plan to visit.
  • Traveler’s diarrhea is a common problem. Carry a 3- to 7-day supply of medicine (antibiotics) to treat it. A common drug for traveler’s diarrhea is ciprofloxacin. If you are pregnant, your doctor may suggest you take TMP- SMX (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) instead.
  • Insect-borne diseases are also a major problem in many areas. Take a good supply of an insect repellent that contains 30 percent or less "Deet" with you. Plan to sleep under a mosquito net, preferably one treated with permethrin, in places where there is malaria or dengue fever. Unless you need to go there, avoid areas where yellow fever is found.
  • If you have medical insurance, check to see what it covers when you are away from home. Make sure your paperwork is in order, and take along proof of insurance when you travel.
  • Learn potential health risks and whether you need to be immunized. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Malaria and Yellow Fever are some diseases you need to get vaccinated against.
  • Make sure all your medications are up-to-date and legal in the country you are travelling to.
  • Get a medical check-up at least 6 weeks before you are scheduled to leave.
  • Pack a first-aid kit, hand sanitizer and safe sex supplies.

During your trip:
Food and water might contain bacteria, viruses, or parasites that could make you sick.
  • Do not eat raw fruit and vegetables that you do not peel yourself, raw or undercooked seafood or meat, unpasteurized dairy products, or anything from a street vendor. Also, do not drink tap water, drinks made with tap water, or with ice made from tap water, or unpasteurized milk.
  • Food and drinks that are generally safe include steaming-hot foods, fruits that you peel yourself, bottled (especially carbonated) drinks, hot coffee or tea, beer, wine, and water that you bring to a rolling boil for1 full minute. If you can’t boil your water, you can filter and treat it with iodine or chlorine, but this will not work as well as boiling.
  • In many places, animals may roam more freely than they do in the area where you live. If you think animals have left droppings on beaches or other areas, always wear shoes and protective clothing and sit on a towel to avoid direct contact with the sand or soil.
  • Swimming can make you sick if you swallow water. You should never swim in water that might contain even very small amounts of sewage or animal waste.
  • Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your doctor has you on a special diet, stick with it.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers of hospitals and health providers.
  • Practice safe sex.

After your trip:
People behave differently when they travel, and this increases the risk of some medical conditions in recent travellers for reasons sometimes unrelated to the location travelled to. Causes of liver infection may be more likely in patients with travel history; cytomegalovirus - liver infection,  hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis E. Make sure you monitor your health for at least two weeks after your trip. Make sure you visit your doctor for a thorough check-up if you have any doubts or show symptoms of infection.

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