Medical tourists must take extra care for protection against infections

One of the most common illnesses medical travelers face is the traveler’s diarrhea and the major reasons for this ailment is the ingestion of certain organisms found in contaminated food or water. Anxiety, allergies and dietary changes could also be the reason for traveler’s diarrhea. Other travel-related health issues include malaria, dengue, yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid fever, and cholera.

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In a foreign land, the infections can occur due to many reasons. Even a small allergy, if left ignored, could potentially trigger serious infections. The most common vector-borne diseases are the yellow fever and malaria. It is important to note that if you do not receive the right treatment for such diseases, they can turn fatal. If proper medication is on hand, you could avoid any further damage to the body.

In case of certain infections, the old adage “prevention is better than the cure” holds true. Prevention from infections is not easy. It is even more difficult for people who are already suffering from diseases. It is particularly important for patients who intend to undergo surgery in a foreign land to follow strict guidelines, as they are at an increased risk.

Medical tourists should have the necessary information on how to stay healthy and how to self-medicate or seek medical help in case they contract any disease in the foreign country. Medical preparation is even more important if you are traveling to a country where vector-borne diseases are widespread. When it comes to prioritizing travel-related health recommendations, a medical tourist should always keep in mind the risks of travel-related illness and the importance of vaccination and medicine.

How to protect against infections

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The first step towards protection against infections is maintaining hygiene.Medical tourists, as they are mostly unfamiliar with the climatic conditions and the region-specific ailments in a particular destination, are always at a greater risk of falling sick when compared with the natives of that particular country.

Usually the locally or internationally accredited medical facilities tend to follow strict hygiene and sanitary requirements. It is useful to determine whether the hospital or clinic where you are seeking care has received proper accreditation. Checking for the hospital’s accreditation is an important step in determining the standards of hygiene and the healthcare services provided by the facility. 

Importance of immunization

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Before you embark on your medical trip, it is important to discuss your travel plans in detail with your local or treating doctor. The concerned doctor can then make recommendations, considering the patient’s age, medical history, vaccine history, destination and the length of the trip. When it comes to medical tourism, proper vaccination plays an important role in protection against a number of infections in a foreign country. In some cases, your local physician might refer you to a travel medicine specialist for detailed information on travel medicine.

The process of vaccination usually consists of a few steps. Medical tourists should always undertake the entire immunization process prior to traveling, as it is important to ensure that the vaccine will work as desired. You must ask your travel medicine physician about the vaccination you will need for protection against food- and water-borne illnesses, and other travel-related illnesses. Although it is important for all medical tourists to consider the significance of vaccinations and medications, you should always rely on safe health practices, such as eating health food and drinking pure water, in order to prevent yourself from various infections.

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Many of the diseases are water- and food-borne. Therefore, consciousness about the consumption of street food or tap water is very important in preventing certain diseases.

Some countries might ask for the proof of vaccination required to enter the country. For example, if you are traveling to sub-Saharan Africa or other yellow fever areas, you might need the proof of vaccination against yellow fever.

While contaminated water and food are the major sources of diseases overseas, a medical tourist should consider many other things for successful prevention of infectious diseases. Apart from food and water, you must also be cautious against insect bites. Mosquitoes can cause a number of life-threatening diseases. You should always carry mosquito repellent as a preventive step against mosquito bites.

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Most internationally traveling patients visiting the tropical countries are concerned about the possibility of contracting malaria. Tropical countries have a relatively higher risk of mosquito borne illnesses. You can easily find various ointments, creams and pills that could protect you from the danger.

Certification and documents form a very important part of the medical endeavor. When going to a foreign country, carry all the records that certify the immunizations you have received in the past. This will enable the doctors at the medical tourism destination to have a proper knowledge about the kind of drugs and further treatment, so that they can attend to your case appropriately. If the documents are in a language that is not internationally recognized, then it is wise to translate this into a language that is acceptable at the destination.

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The common vaccines you may need when going overseas include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, pneumococcal, polio, rabies, typhoid fever, yellow fever, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis.

Irrespective of the country you are visiting for your medical treatment, you should be up to date on all the routine immunizations you will require for effective prevention against infectious diseases in unfamiliar environments. Even if you have to embark on a medical journey in less than three to four weeks, you should consult with your local doctor to check if you need any vaccines or medicines. In nutshell, the recommendation of the right vaccinations is one of the major components of a pre-travel medical consultation.

Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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