Travel Clinic

Text Size A+ | a-

Health Tips

Jet Lag

Jet Lag occurs frequently when one travels rapidly across 3 or more time zones.

Eastward travel is associated with difficulty falling alsleep at the destination bedtime and difficulty arising in the morning. Westward travel is associated with early evening sleepiness and predawn awakening at the travel destination.

Jet Lag Traveler’s symptom

  • Poor sleep, delayed sleep onset, early awakening and constantly awaking during sleep
  • Poor physical and mental performance during daytime
  • May also experience increased fatigue, increased frequency of headaches and irritability, loss of concentration, loss of appetite and stomach upset Preventive Measures
  • Exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of rest
  • Begin to reset your body clock by shifting the timing of sleep to 1-2 hours later for a few days before traveling westward and shifting the timing of sleep to 1-2 hours earlier for a few days before traveling eastward
  • Break up a long journey with a stopover, if possible

Preventive Measures

  • Exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of rest
  • Begin to reset your body clock by shifting the timing of sleep to 1-2 hours later for a few days before traveling westward and shifting the timing of sleep to 1-2 hours earlier for a few days before traveling eastward
  • Break up a long journey with a stopover, if possible

Altitude Illness

The environment of high altitude could include extreme cold, low humidity, increased ultraviolet radiation and decreased air pressure.
Travelers should take extra precautions to minimize their effects.

Tips for Acclimatization

  • Ascend gradually; not more than 9,000 ft (2,750m) sleeping altitude in 1 day
  • Once above 9,000ft (2,750m), do not increase sleeping altitude more than 1,600ft (500m) per day
  • Use an extra day for acclimatization for every 3,300 ft (1,000m)
  • If you need to ascend quickly, consider using medication, acetazolamide, to speed acclimatization
  • Avoid alcohol for the first 48 hours
  • No heavy exercise for the first 48 hours

Motion Sickness

Motion sickness or travel sickness may result from travelling on ship, car or plane. Dizziness, fatigue, and nausea are the most common symptoms of motion sickness.

Preventive Measures

  • Driving a vehicle instead of riding it, sitting in the front seat of a car or bus, sitting over the wing of an air-craft, or being in the central cabin on a ship
  • Medications
  • Lying face down on the bed, focusing at the horizon, or shutting your eyes
  • Aromatherapy with mint, lavender, or ginger; taking flavored lozenges may also help
  • May also try acupressure or magnets to prevent or treat nausea

Bed Bugs

Travelers are encouraged to take the following precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to bed bugs:

Preventive Measures

  • Inspect the premises of hotels or other unfamiliar sleeping locations for bed bugs on mattresses, box springs, beddings, and furniture. Premises with building furniture such as beds, desks, and closets usually have a higher chance of bed bugs infestation
  • Travelers who observe evidence of bed bug activity – whether it be the bugs themselves or physical signs such as bloodspotting on bed sheets, should seek alternative lodging
  • Keep suitcases closed when they are not in use and keep them off the floor
  • In high risk areas, remove clothing and personal items, such as toiletry bags and shaving kits, from the suitcase only when they are in use
  • Carefully inspect clothing and personal items before returning them to the suitcase.
  • Bed bug eggs and nymphs can be very small and are easily overlooked

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is caused by environmental heat exposure with lack of proper body temperature regulation. Symptoms include a body temperature higher than 40.6 °C (105.1 °F), dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness. As a result of the uncontrolled fever and circulatory collapse, organ damage may occur in the brain, liver, kidneys and heart.

Preventive Measures

  • Remove clothing to maximize exposure, spray cool water on the skin, and maintain air movement over the body by fanning
  • Apply ice or cold packs to the neck, armpits and groin areas.
  • Vigorously massage the skin to prevent constriction of blood vessels
  • Immerse the person in water (such as a nearby pool or natural body of water)

Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Em bolism

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) consists of 2 related conditions:
(1) deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and (2) pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT occurs when a deep vein is partially or completely blocked by a blood clot, most commonly in legs. The clot may break off and travel to the vessels in the lungs, causing a life-threatening PE.

Risk factors for developing VTE include

Recent major surgery, paralytic spinal cord injury, multiple trauma, malignancy, congestive heart failure or respiratory failure, hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptive, previous venous thromboembolism, inherited hypercoagulable condition, acquired hypercoagulable condition, pregnancy, male, age > 40 years, obesity, immobility

Preventive Measures

For travelers who are taking flights that are more than 8 hours, the following general measures are recommended:

  • Avoid wearing tight clothes and pants
  • Drink lots of water
  • Move around the airplane once every hour
  • Exercise your legs by flexing your calf muscles