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Dr. Anderson: Packing Common Sense

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Dr. Anderson: Packing Common Sense

Doctor Eric Anderson, a charter diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice and a former president of the New Hampshire Academy of Family Physicians is a regular contributor to Travel Tips 'n' Tales. He is widely traveled and published, having written a travel health column for Travel 50 & Beyond and a weekly online column, Ask The Doctor, for The New York Times Syndicate.

Dr. Anderson invites you to send your questions regarding travel health issues to ericmd@lorrypatton.com

Taking Preventive Measures

Dr_Anderson210.jpg Eric Anderson, MD

Even before September 11 many vacationers saw travel as both a joy and a worry -- it could bring pleasure, something new and exciting in a far-off place and yet create worry, being so far from home and from personal physicians should illness strike or accidents happen.

Yet, considering how many persons travel each year, not much really goes wrong with vacations, medically or otherwise. Simple common sense takes care of a lot. The trouble is if we wound up with all the details of arranging a trip we sometimes forget to think of the obvious things we can do to protect our health on vacations.

Some of the issues are so evident:

We need to review our vaccinations long before our departure in case a whole series of immunizations is required.


Even if we are simply driving across North America or just camping in a national park, we should update our tetanus shots if it's been more than ten years since the last one.

Flu Shots

If we're heading into a winter vacation we should consider flu shots

Chronic Conditions?

If we have a chronic health problem like diabetes or high blood pressure, we should have our physicians check us before we go on any strenuous adventure trip.

Are We Trip Fit?

We check our automobiles before long cross country drives; doesn't it make sense to do the same to our bodies? If we're going on a organized tour we should find out exactly how strenuous it's going to be and give an accurate description to our doctor if there is a chance we couldn't hack it. For example, if a river trip is dangerous or a destination lies at high altitude, someone should know that, preferably our doctor.

Packing Prevention

We need to ask our doctors if we should take medications with us in anticipation of chest infections or traveler's diarrhea and whether they think we are heading for areas at risk of hepatitis A or worse. Should we discuss Malaria prevention? Do we need to pack insect repellant? Should we eat the food and drink the water?

Ask These Questions Before Leaving

We need to ask someone, perhaps Lorry Patton's Travel Tips 'n' Tales, any particular question that's worrying us, particularly if the answer might make all the difference between enjoying our vacation or not.

That's why we're now here for you.

» » More articles by Dr. Eric Anderson

NOTE: Lorry Patton's Travel Tips 'n' Tales would like to remind you to always consult with your personal physician before following any medical advice and to please read the Travel Tips 'n' Tales "Terms of Use" found on the bottom of each page of this website. Dr. Anderson's opinions are not necessarily the opinions of Lorry Patton or Travel Tips 'n' Tales.