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IMMUNIZATION TIPS FOR TRAVELERS ABROAD

If you plan to travel to tropical or subtropical countries, you may be at risk for exotic infections.

Holy Cross Hospital's Travelers Immunization Clinic at Southwest Emergency Services in West Jordan offers the following tips to prospective travelers:- Be careful of what you eat and drink. Avoid food from street vendors, fresh salads, and fruit and vegetables that cannot be peeled. Assume that vegetables are washed with contaminated water. Eat meat and fish that are well cooked.

- Boil contaminated water before you drink it. Ice cubes can also be contaminated so don't use them unless you know the water they're made from is safe. Canned or bottled carbonated beverages, bottled water, beer and wine are generally safe.

- If you are under current medical treatment, consult your physician before your departure and take an adequate supply of routine medication. Also, take an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses with you.

- Plan ahead to allow enough time to complete an inoculation program. It can take three to six weeks to complete inoculations for travel to a tropical or subtropical area. Some countries require evidence of inoculation before they will issue you a visa.

The clinic says malaria is a major risk in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is transmitted by a species of mosquito that bites primarily at dusk or dawn. Precautions you can take to help avoid mosquito bites include wearing long sleeves, pants and socks; using a repellent; and sleeping in a bed with mosquito netting.

Cholroquine phosphate (500 mg.) is the medication most commonly prescribed to people who will be traveling to malaria infested countries. You should take it once weekly, beginning one to two weeks before you leave and continuing until four weeks after you return. Fandisar is used in areas where mosquitos are resistant to chloroquine.

Yellow fever is a serious viral infection prevalent in certain parts of Africa and South America. It is also transmitted by mosquitos. The vaccine is well tolerated and effective for 10 years. But people who are allergic to eggs should avoid it. Nor should it be given to pregnant women or people who have weak immune systems.

Cholera is a severe diarrheal illness. It rarely develops in western travelers and the vaccine isn't recommended unless you need it to get into a country you are visiting.

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection prevalent in some areas of the world, especially where there is poor food and water sanitation.

For more information contact the clinic at 566-5691.