What does melting snow, more snow and nonstop basketball signify? Spring is almost here. You’ve made it through another (albeit mild) winter, why not celebrate in a warmer climate? For individuals or families planning to escape the indecisive Minnesota weather with a trip to warmer climates, here are some tips courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Before you go:
- Be sure to pack your prescription medications, sunscreen and something to prevent bug bites.
- If traveling in the U.S., there is not currently a travel warning for health concerns (like Zika) when traveling within the continental U.S. but check out https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for the most up-to-date information. Local transmission of Zika has been reported in Florida and Texas.
- If traveling outside of the U.S., schedule an appointment with your Primary Care Provider at least one month prior to travel to ensure you are up to date on recommended vaccinations and get a prescription for recommended medications if applicable.
- If you or your partner are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor before you travel
- Check with your health insurance provider to find out about medical coverage while traveling. Consider purchasing additional medical insurance if you are not covered, especially if traveling to a remote region or traveling for longer periods of time
- Make an extra copy of your passport, travel documents, and credit card to leave with a trusted family member or friend
- Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://step.state.gov/step/) to receive relevant travel messages and to make it easier to locate you in an emergency
- Visit the U.S. Department of State website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html) for information on security risks. There are current warnings for several North and South American countries, including Mexico.
During your trip:
- In developing countries, be careful about eating locally. The best tip is to eat only food that has been fully cooked and served hot. Avoid fresh vegetables and fruits unless you can peel them yourself. Drink only bottled water and avoid ice. Consider brushing your teeth with bottled water.
- Refer to my previous recommendations on how to avoid bug bites or refer to https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html
- Use recommended safety gear and use a reliable outfitter on excursions
- Drink alcohol responsibly and be sure to hydrate in the heat
- Reapply sunscreen followed by mosquito repellant often
- Avoid getting tattoos or piercings
- Use latex condoms every time you have sex
After your trip:
- If you are not feeling well, see a provider. Notify staff that you recently traveled outside of the U.S. on check in.
- Avoid getting mosquito bites for three weeks if you have returned from an area with Zika
- Ask your provider how long you should use protection during sex if you traveled in an area with Zika.
Most important, have fun and enjoy the sun. We all need a “restart” whether it’s at the beach, sightseeing or spring cleaning.