Stay safe when traveling

Spring break begins March 18 for most Northeast Michigan schools.

Many families will travel during that weeklong break. Some of those families will travel outside the country.

And that could put them at risk for illness, public health officials told News staff writer Mike Gonzalez for a recent story.

Respiratory illnesses are the most common risk, Dr. Josh Meyerson, medical director of District Health Department No. 4, told Gonazalez, but travelers to certain places could face other risks. Those visiting developing nations could face contaminated food or water, which could lead to “traveler’s diarrhea” or other ailments. Those escaping Northeast Michigan’s cold in tropical locales also must worry about sunburn and mosquito bites, the latter of which could carry diseases.

Meyerson recommended international travelers especially visit CDC.gov/travel to view any travel advisories from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which would provide alerts about any outbreaks or specific health risks in the nation to which they’re traveling.

But, generally, Meyerson told Gonzalez it’s important to practice good handwashing techniques while traveling, that travelers should make sure the food they consume abroad is fully cooked or that they can peel or wash fresh fruits or vegetables, and to wear bug spray, especially in tropical climates.

“There are always steps you can try to take for traveling that can reduce the chance that you’ll get sick during your vacation,” Meyerson said.

We urge anyone hitting the road or the skies this Spring Break to take some precautionary steps before they travel to keep themselves, their loved ones, and the people with whom they’ll come in contact when they come home safe.


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