Travel medicine: helping patients prepare for trips abroad.Am Fam Physician 1998; 58(2):383-98, 401-2AF
One third of persons who travel abroad experience a travel-related illness, usually diarrhea or an upper respiratory infection. The risk of travelers' diarrhea can be reduced by eating only freshly prepared, hot foods. Combination therapy with a single dose of ofloxacin plus loperamide usually provides relief from travelers' diarrhea within 24 hours. Using a diethyltoluamide (deet)-containing insect repellent and wearing permethrin-coated clothing can reduce the risk of malaria, yellow fever and other diseases contracted from insects. Routine immunizations such as tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella, and influenza should be updated if necessary before the patient embarks on the trip. Hepatitis A immunization should be administered to persons traveling to places other than Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and western European countries. Typhoid vaccination should be considered for travelers going to developing countries. Yellow fever immunization is indicated for travelers going to endemic areas of South America and Africa. Malaria prophylaxis with chloroquine is indicated for travelers going to Mexico and Central America. Mefloquine is recommended for those traveling to areas where malaria is resistant to prophylactic treatment with chloroquine. Medical advice for patients planning trips abroad must be individualized and based on the most current expert recommendations.