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Tips For Healthy Traveling

If you don't feel like cooking a Thanksgiving turkey or hosting a Christmas gathering, you're not alone. Many Americans flee the chaos of the holiday season for a relaxing foreign vacation. In Tuesday's medical report, CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay has some tips to make your holiday away a healthy one.

Getting sick in a foreign country can not only ruin your vacation, it can be dangerous. Here are a few simple steps that holiday travelers can take to avoid medical mishaps:

  • Plan ahead and make sure that you take an adequate supply of your prescription medications. It's also a good idea to carry a doctor's note listing your medical diagnoses and medicines you've been prescribed.
  • Find out if vaccinations are necessary for your trip. As a general rule, your childhood vaccinations should be up to date. Additional requirements differ for each country.
  • Take precautions against tainted food and water, especially if you're traveling to Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe, or Southeast Asia. Make sure that foods and vegetables are either peeled or well-cooked before eating them. It's also a good idea to stick with bottled water.
  • Don't leave home without mosquito repellant to protect against diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. Adults need a repellant that contains about 30 percent of the insecticide deet, while children should use a lower concentration. Camping stores carry stronger repellants that are sprayed on clothing.

If you do become sick or injured while on vacation, don't panic. Call the nearest consulate or the American embassy. The personnel there can give you names of good hospitals and of doctors who speak English. If you can, ask your travel agent ahead of time about medical care in the regions where you'll be traveling.

For more information about travel health tips, your travel agent and the Centers for Disease Control can give you important information about your travel destination, including recommended vaccinations and other health precautions.

The CDC has an extensive Web site that offers health tips organized by country.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay

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