Travel & Health – Health related “Must-Haves” while travelling (part 3)
Welcome to the 3rd episode of “Travel & Health” by Frenchy Travels!
This week, we conclude our conversation about health with our guest Dr. Andrea L. Leschak – Founder & CEO of Wayfinder Advantage.
As beautiful days are ahead with warm weather and holiday vibes, so many travellers are already planning their next trip! So it seems the perfect time to prepare in advance a Health Kit to be on the safe side during your next adventure!
Thenceforth, here are my questions to Dr. Leschak:
What would you suggest travellers take with them while travelling abroad? Are there “must-haves” that travellers should include in their Health Kit?
“This is an excellent question and one that varies widely.
Some of it depends on the traveller, their personal risks and tolerances, the destination, and their planned activities.
I strongly encourage international travellers to contact their state department to learn what, if any, traveller services are offered. This is also a good place to do basic research on international destinations. Knowing if your country has an embassy at your destination can be helpful in a crisis.
In the United States, travellers going abroad can enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before leaving. This system supports citizens outside the U.S. by providing emergency information and assistance in a crisis.
I believe that “must-haves” can be broadly divided into three main categories:
- Medical & First Aid
- Travel related immunization
I strongly encourage travellers to have a copy of their government identification or passport in case the primary document is lost, stolen, or damaged.
Obviously, due to security, you need to keep this information secure. If you feel copies are a risk, then leave a copy with a trusted family member or point of contact that could email you the backup in an emergency.
Digital copies are another option however there is the risk of losing your digital device…and again you would be without backup.
A written list of emergency contact numbers is suggested. Include a family member or a trusted friend’s phone number.
Lastly, who would you call to report lost or stolen bank cards? Think about adding that phone number to your list as well.
2. Medical & First Aid
Here again, planning is key to not only healthy but safe travelling. These may not apply to all travellers but are items to consider based on your personal preferences and risks.
Emergency Alert Information
- Medical alert jewellery or cards that identify severe medical conditions
- A blood type card
- Copies of medication prescriptions
- A brief list of chronic illnesses
First Aid Kits
Prioritize items based on your health care needs and then customize to meet your specific travel plans.
- Prescription medications for chronic illnesses
- Immune system booster
- Pain reliever
- Cough and cold medications
- Anti-diarrheal agent
- Disinfectant solution
- Hand sanitizer (>60% alcohol based is best)
- Surgical or N95 mask (2-ply fabric mask if others are unavailable)
Additional items based on your overall health, destination, and planned activities:
- Sunscreen UVA/UVB 50+
- After-sun moisturizer
- Backup pair of contacts or eyeglasses
- Motion sickness medication
- Epinephrine pen (Epi-pen®) for severe allergic reactions
- Electrolyte crystals
- Antibiotic ointment
3. Travel related immunizations
Immunization recommendations are influenced by several factors:
- Home country of residence
- Age and health
- Length of stay
- Planned activities
During the pre-travel planning session, your healthcare provider will evaluate your current immunization history and determine if additional immunizations are recommended.
Make sure to schedule your health review at least 2-3 months before (earlier if you have a limited immunization history) your departure date.
Some vaccines may have limited availability and be difficult to find. It also takes time for the immunization to become fully effective so plan accordingly and give yourself enough time before you leave.
If we learned anything during the recent pandemic, our health is the foundation of living life well. Staying healthy allows you to participate fully and maximize your travel experience.
Knowing your risks, avoiding illness, and supporting your immune system are the core principles of healthy travel. Taking these steps provides you with the tools and knowledge for success on the road!”
Information provided by Andrea L. Leschak and Wayfinder Advantage is intended for information purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice of-and an ongoing relationship with an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.
Based in the USA, Dr. Andrea L. Leschak holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is a Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. Her career spans more than 25 years serving patients in various healthcare settings.
She launched Wayfinder Advantage in 2019. There, she helps clients develop strategies to reduce travel-related risks caused by their health and medications.
When not working, you can find her sailing, travelling the world, and looking for the best dive spots.