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 Health Concerns 
IMMUNIZATIONS AND HEALTH CONCERNS
 
If you are planning to travel in developing countries there may be health concerns you will need to attend to. In some countries there are required immunizations you’ll need to have before being allowed entry. In other countries there may not be required immunizations – but they will have recommended immunizations; or various health advisements if going into particular areas of the country (especially into rural areas). In such cases, the final decision is up to you
 
Before traveling overseas, speak with your personal physician or call the Center for Disease Control at 404.332.4559. You may visit their website at www.cdc.gov . At the top of the home page there is an “a-z index”. Click on “T” and then choose “Traveler’s Health”. There will be several items here that you may want to read.
 
You may also want to talk with your personal physician about the prices for the different immunizations you may need (or choose to have) before taking your mission trip. Some health clinics offer a lower price than others. You may want to do a little “shopping” to get the best prices per immunization. Please be aware that with some immunizations you will be given a certificate indicating you have received the requisite immunization. Please keep this certificate as you may need it to certify you’ve been immunized.
 
Following is a list of some of the immunizations and medications you may want to be aware of if you are traveling to a developing country (especially in the tropics):
  • Yellow Fever: A viral disease transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite. Outbreaks of yellow fever have occurred in Ethiopia and Kenya. If traveling through areas where there is a concern about yellow fever, and if you do not have proof of vaccination with you on return and there has been an outbreak, they will not allow you to return to the US until the outbreak is over.
  • Malaria: Depending on the country you visit (and the part of the country you visit) there may be some risk with Malaria. Pills for protection from malaria can be acquired with a prescription from your physician. You will begin taking them two weeks prior to departure and continue taking one a week while in the risk areas plus, most importantly, continue taking them for four weeks after returning to the US. Many people tolerate malaria pills with few side effects. Mild nausea, abdominal cramps, headaches, insomnia and strange dreams can occur but tend to be self-limiting and tolerable.
  • Hepatitis A: Series of 2 injections.
  • Hepatitis B: Advised for persons staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population (series of 3 injections).
  • Polio: A one-time booster is recommended for people who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization.
  • Typhoid: In some contries, vaccination should be considered for persons venturing off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas.
  • Meningitis: This may be acquired through people coughing, mouth-to-mouth, or indirect contact by touching an object recently contaminated with an infected person's nasal secretions.
  • Tetanus: This may be contracted through any open wound. If you haven’t had a booster in the last 10 years you may want to speak with your doctor what he recommends.
Personal Protective Measures Against Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Other Insects
  • Purchase an insect repellent containing 25-35% DEET.
  • Wear light colored clothing; not black, bright prints or patterns.
  • Wear long pants or skirts.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes or socks.
  • Use mosquito nets for sleeping when provided.
Traveler's Diarrhea
Traveler's diarrhea is an acute illness that commonly occurs in international travelers going to developing countries where sanitation is substandard. It occurs when the normal balance in the gastrointestinal tract is upset by the introduction of bacteria, viruses, or parasites contained in food and water. It may be accompanied by any of the following: urgency, bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, headache, general malaise and low-grade fever. Prevention is key—You are there for ministry. You need to take necessary precautions so that you may fulfill the ministerial task God has set before you. Besides washing your hands scrupulously with non-contaminated water and soap or antibacterial wipes, the following procedures should be followed.
  • Drink purified water or bottled water.
  • Do not brush your teeth using tap water.
  • Do not get water in your mouth while taking a shower.
  • Eat foods that are thoroughly cooked, and served piping hot.
  • Eat fruits that have thick skins. (They should be peeled at the table by you).
  • Avoid salads made with raw vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables.
  • Do not use ice cubes in any beverages.
  • Only eat and drink dairy products made from pasteurized milk.
  • Avoid shellfish and raw undercooked seafood.
  • Do not buy or eat food sold by street venders.
                         
Recommended Treatment for traveler's diarrhea is either Imodium-AD or Pepto-Bismal. Don't leave home without one or the other.
 
Prescription Drugs: If you are taking any prescription drugs, make a list to keep in a safe place.

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