Baylor Missions sits down with Nurse Dawn Chumak of Baylor University to discuss the top 14 things you need to think about before you travel! This quick video gives some major tips on how to prepare to be your most healthy on your trip. These tips are great for Baylor Missions trips and for any one going abroad.
Do your research
When traveling to another country, it’s important to do your research and know both the travel and health risks before you go. We suggest reviewing the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Traveler Health for your country: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/ (Links to an external site.)
You may want to ask these questions:
- What contagious diseases are easily transmitted through mosquitoes, water, or unsanitary conditions?
- Do I need to get any vaccines or get a prescription for anti-malaria?
- If Yes, you can get those on campus at the Health Center
- What type of climate will you be in? Will there be a risk of heat stroke or sunburn?
- Will you be flying into a high elevation creating a risk for altitude sickness?
- Will hypothermia be a problem if you are traveling to a cold?
Vaccines and Medications
The best way to maintain a healthy travel lifestyle when heading abroad is to know what vaccines will protect you from a disease. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid Fever, Yellow Fever, Cholera and Travelers’ Diarrhea are all the top vaccines for any travel to South America, Africa or Asia. If you have other vaccine/healthy travel questions, sign up for a travel consultation at the Baylor Health Centerhttps://www.baylor.edu/healthservices/index.php?id=952301 (Links to an external site.)
Speaking of medicines, take them! If you regularly take prescription meds, make sure you take enough with you to last your whole trip. Also, if you take medication at a certain time every day, pay attention to the time-zone change. If you want to stay on Texas time, you may need to start a couple weeks early adapting your schedule so you’re not taking pills at 3 A.M.
Mosquitos and Disease
- Wear bug spray 24/7. DEET is the magic ingredient that will help prevent these scary diseases. I like to buy the bug wipes version found here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007UT88U8/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_qtKwCb3DJNTMV (Links to an external site.)
- Wear lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants. Also dark colors sometimes attract certain bugs (like tsetse flies in Africa) Light colors and light fabrics are you best bet!
- Mosquito nets—if you find a net around your bed when you arrive USE IT. If it’s provided by your hotel, there’s a reason.
When it’s hot, you lose a lot of water from sweat and you may not notice you are dehydrated. This can cause heat stroke and be very serious. Dehydration is probably the most common illness we see on trips. Baylor is going to make sure you have PLENTY of clean water during the trip. Drink up! Stay hydrated!
Don’t be afraid to try the local cuisine—this is a cultural experience and food is a big part of cultural appreciation. It’s fine to bring some snacks to supplement your meals, It is very offensive not to at least TRY the local cuisine. How would you feel if someone came to your home and refused to eat the special meal you prepared? Be gracious and show appreciation—different is not bad, just different. Do your research to see what kinds of foods that includes so you can be prepared. There are some things that we would avoid though. We always say, when in doubt, if it isn’t boiled, baked or peel-able don’t eat it.
Are there any other questions you have as you prep for your trip? Baylor Missions is happy to help answer questions and ease nerves! Let us know what we can do for you.