Recognizing the Importance of National Immunization Awareness Month

Happy Health People - NIAM

Every year in August, the U.S. celebrates National Immunization Awareness Month. Communities, states and the nation come together to hold activities and awareness events to increase public knowledge about the usefulness, safety and benefits of all of the different vaccinations. From routine childhood vaccination to annual flu shots, National Immunization Awareness Month aims to help improve the health of people of every age.

 

What Is the Purpose of National Immunization Awareness Month?

The mission of National Immunization Awareness Month is to educate and inform people about how vaccinations prevent serious illnesses and deaths in your family, community and around the world. The awareness campaign encourages all people to protect their health and reduce their risk of infectious diseases.

Why Are Vaccines Important?

Immunization helps people of all ages reduce their risk of serious, sometimes deadly infectious diseases. Getting vaccinated can also help prevent lost productivity due to illness, reduces costs to the healthcare system and government and helps reduce the overall disease burden in a population. Immunizations can also protect against complications from infectious diseases such as liver cancer that can result from hepatitis B infection or paralysis that may result from polio. In addition to protecting the members of your household, school, workplace and community, vaccinations also protect the overall public’s health, reducing the risk of disease outbreaks around the world.

Who Should Get Vaccines?

All members of a household should keep up to date on recommended vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a vaccine schedule for infants, children and adults. Adults who did not receive certain vaccinations as children, such as the series of hepatitis B shots, may consider getting vaccinated as a way to protect their own health and the health of their family members. Employment in certain occupations such as childcare and healthcare may also necessitate vaccines to protect your health and the health of those that you come into contact with. If you plan to travel to certain areas of the world where there are endemic diseases that are uncommon in North America, you may need additional vaccines to guard against illness. In addition to helping protect your long-term health, there are vaccines such as the annual flu shot that provide short-term protection against the flu. The flu can cause moderate to severe symptoms but can cause serious complications or death in the young, elderly, people who have compromised immune systems and in pregnant women.

How to Get the Vaccines You Need

You can receive any needed routine or travel vaccinations by visiting a Passport Health travel health specialist. You’ll receive a pre-travel health exam and an assessment of your immunization status. The travel health specialist will explain which vaccines are needed, based upon your destination and personal health status. You can also visit a Passport Health travel health specialist to get your annual flu shot and pneumonia shot. A travel health specialist can also advise you on other ways to protect your health such as what to travel supplies to pack and the use of sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control: National Immunization Awareness Month
Healthfinder.gov: National Immunization Awareness Month
HealthyChildren.org National Immunization Awareness Month
Passport Health: Vaccinations

The Top Ten Most Influential People in Travel 2014

Travel Industry - Flight Board

 

Travel involves far more than just hotels, airlines, online booking sites, travel vaccines, car rentals, and destination guides. It’s also about the individuals who make all of these aspects of the industry actually function. Countless people have had an influence on the travel industry, but some have really set the bar for their competitors and ultimately shaped travel news. Here are Passport Health’s Top Ten most influential people in travel so far this year.

1. Rafat Ali – Founder and CEO of Skift

In 2012, Skift, a travel intelligence company, was founded to offer news, information, data, and services to professionals in the travel industry as well as to individual travelers with the goal of helping them make smart decisions about their journeys. In the two short years since its launch, Skift has become the preeminent source of travel intelligence and industry analysis. The brand features reports on topics including transportation, destinations, hotels, and just about everything in between. The brand continues to expand into the social sphere, as CEO Rafat Ali recently raised an additional $1.1 million dollars in seed funding to successfully launch SkiftSocial, which offers social media data for travel brands. Under Ali’s leadership, we look forward to continued growth for Skift, as it truly does become the business of travel.
skift.com

2. Erica Tabacoff- Creator of World Wize App

Every day, countless new apps are created for electronic devices: from time-saving productivity tools to fun games users just can’t put down. Erica Tabacoff, however, created a travel app that stands out from the rest, after quitting her full time job to travel around the world and experience everything she had been missing out on. After traveling for a year and relying on guidebooks for advice, she realized how hard it is for travelers to meet local residents as well as the speed with which recommendations become out-of-date for many destinations. After some brainstorming, Erica came up with the idea for an app, World Wize, that would allow users to post or receive tips from other travelers and connect with local residents who could pass on those hidden local secrets. The app was recently released on the iTunes app store and is free for users to download.
worldwizeapp.com

3. Travis Kalanick- CEO of Uber

Uber has changed the way the world moves by seamlessly connecting riders to drivers via apps. American entrepreneur, Travis Kalanick, has raised an astounding $1.2 billion dollars in funding for his company, Uber, from mutual fund managers and venture investors, bringing the company’s value up to a whopping $17 billion. Uber has accelerated to the top of the ground transportation industry and has expanded from San Francisco to over 128 cities. Kalanick is currently in the process of expanding Uber and its services to even more global customers. He believes that Uber’s unique technology platform that connects riders and drivers not only provides convenience, but could even one day replace car ownership entirely.
www.uber.com

4. Brian Chesky- CEO of Airbnb

By the end of this summer, Airbnb will usurp the Intercontinental Hotel Group as the world’s largest hotel chain, without owning a single hotel. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences and allows people to share their home and spaces with millions. In the past few years, Airbnb’s revenue has tripled to an estimated $250 million. Chesky has presided over the growth of Airbnb to 192 countries with over 550,000 listings, including 600+ castles.
www.airbnb.com

5. Elon Musk- CEO of Tesla

Creating a major new car company is a tremendous undertaking, especially if it’s an electric car company. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla cars, set out to build an electric car that could truly be described as awesome, and indeed he has. The car is recognized as “the fastest charging car on the planet,” as it can “fuel” up in as little as forty minutes. In the beginning of this year, Musk’s company took another big leap and expanded its rapid charging station route to more than seventy locations. Tesla owners are now able to drive coast-to-coast for the first time.
www.teslamotors.com

6. Ruzwana Bashir- Co-founder & CEO of Peek

After traveling her way through forty different countries and experiencing a variety of events, Ruzwana Bashir wanted to create a travel-experience site that would help curate trips and events for vacationers. Since she started up Peek about a year ago, the company has stood out among the travel-startup crowd because of its growth. Peek works with the highest quality vendors to offer and display activities from all around the world and makes them easily bookable online and from a mobile device. This one-stop shop for booking amazing activities has taken off this year, and Bashir is largely to thank for the company’s success.
www.peek.com

7. Mei Zhang- Founder of WildChina

After launching her own travel company a decade ago, Mei Zhang has successfully built her business into one of China’s most internationally acclaimed travel brands. WildChina takes groups on highly customized, meticulously planned adventures with knowledgeable guides through various areas of the country. This year, Mei Zhang has focused on a new market for her Chinese tourists and has expanded by organizing trips to destinations outside of China, including the United States. Wherever the destination may be, Mei’s goal is to create life-changing experiences for independent-minded adventurers.
wildchina.com

8. Sam Shank- CEO of HotelTonight

HotelTonight, which allows users to find cheap hotel rooms at the last minute, has recently added innovative features to fuel its international expansion. This app, whose growth has been overseen by CEO Sam Shank, has managed to stay one step ahead of its competitors by building out services and adding features like “gifting” a room to someone else and “Snap Your Stay,” which encourages users to upload pictures of their hotel room to receive credits ranging from $5 to $10. The company also just reached another milestone by signing agreements with major hotel brands including Best Western and Hyatt, allowing HotelTonight to negotiate lower reservation rates for guests.
www.hoteltonight.com

9. Philip Bloom- British Filmmaker

Recently, the Skift travel website posted an article entitled, “This May Just Be the Best Travel Video of 2014.” The film was produced by world-renowned filmmaker, Philip Bloom, and it illustrates the creative possibilities of a travel video, when in the right hands. The video, Koh Yao Noi, shows how the least developed island in Thailand actually sits right in the middle of the most touristic bay in the country. Bloom also maintains a detailed, informative website featuring his work and numerous blog posts with instructions on producing creative video.
philipbloom.net

10. Anthony Foxx- Secretary of Transportation

Foxx joined the U.S. Department of Transportation in July of 2013, and he has already made great improvements to how people move about the U.S. In addition, he has been focusing on cracking down on distracted drivers in order to keep our roads safe, especially as the number of crashes and deaths related to distracted driving has significantly increased. Foxx realizes how important this issue is and recently launched the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ crackdown. He is also committed to getting every state to prohibit texting behind the wheel.
www.dot.gov/secretary

Safari Enthusiasts, Get These Vaccinations for South Africa!

Kruger National Park Zebras
Kruger National Park, South Africa

 

A South African safari is a wildlife enthusiast’s trip of a lifetime. Proper pre-travel medical care is crucial to be able to relax and enjoy the stunning landscape. While you’re out and about in the wilderness, the last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected illness. A pre-travel health consultation with vaccinations given by a travel health specialist will help to ensure your well-being during your safari and upon your return home.

5 Tips for the Best South African Safari

Whether it is your first safari or you’re an experienced safari enthusiast, taking a little time to adequately prepare before your trip can help you have the best possible experience. These five tips will get you started on the South African safari you’ve been dreaming of enjoying.

1. Visit during the off-season.
In South Africa, the off-season takes place in May through July. During this time of the year, the weather is cooler, prices are more affordable and the animal sightings are better. The more affordable prices during the South African winter months may allow you to stay in a more luxurious lodge or even spend a few extra days on your tour.

2. Choose a safari off the beaten path.
Instead of going for the most popular areas, select a place that’s a little off the beaten path. With fewer people, you may have a better chance of up-close observation of the wildlife.

3. Slow down.
In Canada and the United States, life is typically conducted at as fast a pace as possible. This is not the case in South Africa, and you shouldn’t be alarmed if your guide suddenly decides it’s time to take a three-hour-long nap or break for the day. Instead, take this opportunity to enjoy the scenery, and relax in the natural wonders that surround you.

4. Immerse yourself.
Eat what the locals eat, even if you don’t think you’ll like the dish at first glance. Attention should still be paid to the possibility of food-borne illness. Participate in the lively songs and dance performed by the natives. Completely immerse yourself in the culture for a full experience of the land.

5. Get a pre-travel health consultation and vaccines.
A visit with a Passport Health travel health specialist will help to ensure that you’re healthy and ready to go on safari. Schedule your travel health checkup six weeks before your departure date. This will allow your body to make antibodies after receiving recommended vaccinations. Our travel health specialist will also make recommendations for what you should pack for a healthy and safe trip. Your prescription and over-the-counter medications, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, mosquito netting, a first aid kit, a water purification kit, anti-diarrheal medication and pain relievers will all help you to stay well during your travels.

Which Vaccinations for South Africa May I Need?

The exact shots for South Africa will depend on your personal health history and the location of your safari. In general, your travel health specialist may recommend the following vaccines for South Africa:

A pre-travel health consultation with a Passport Health travel health specialist will help you make sure you’re as healthy as possible as you depart for safari, during your adventure, and upon your return home. Getting your immunizations for South Africa will help protect against infections that could cause you to fall ill during your trip or upon your return home.

Sources:
Travel & Leisure Article on the 10 Most Amazing and Affordable Safaris
Lonely Planet Article on South African Safari Tips for First-Timers
CDC Health Information for Travellers to South Africa
Passport Health Vaccinations and Travel Tips for South Africa

Learn About World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day

Every year on July 28, people around the world celebrate World Hepatitis Day. More than 400 million people around the world are infected with chronic hepatitis B or C, and many of them are unaware of their infections. July 28th was selected for World Hepatitis Day to honor the birthday of Nobel Laureate winner Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, the discoverer of the hepatitis B virus.

What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. It can occur as an acute illness that causes symptoms of jaundice, fever and malaise. In some people, there are no symptoms at all. Some people are able to clear the infection while others develop a lifelong, chronic illness. After years of inflammation caused by hepatitis, the liver can become cancerous or cirrhotic. More than a million people die each year due to cancer or cirrhosis due to chronic viral hepatitis.

What Are the Causes of Hepatitis?

There are several types of viruses that cause infectious hepatitis. These include the hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses. Each virus has its own means of transmission:

  • Hepatitis A is primarily spread through contaminated food and water. It is a vaccine-preventable disease and is now part of routine childhood immunizations in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Hepatitis B is spread through bodily fluids. It can be passed through sexual intercourse, sharing needles during drug use or from mother to child during birth. It is a vaccine-preventable disease. Children receive the vaccinations, which include three shots over a six-month period.

  • Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. It is primarily spread through blood exposure such as through injection drug use. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis D infections can only occur concurrently or after infection with hepatitis B. It can worsen the effects of chronic hepatitis B.

  • Hepatitis E is usually spread through contaminated water. There is no widely available vaccine although one is under development. Infections are usually self-limiting but are a serious health concern for pregnant women.

What Is World Hepatitis Day For?

The international goal of World Hepatitis Day is to increase awareness of viral hepatitis and encourage those who are at risk to get tested. Those who have not yet been vaccinated against hepatitis A and B can work with travel health specialists to determine if vaccination would benefit their health.

Can Hepatitis Be Prevented?

Viral hepatitis can be prevented in many ways. If you’re planning a trip to places where there is a risk of consuming contaminated food or water or where the diseases are endemic such as in Southeast Asia, you can bring a water purification kit or stick with bottled water. These actions can reduce your risk of infection with hepatitis A and E. Getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B also reduces your risk of infection. To further reduce your risk of hepatitis B, and also hepatitis C, avoid exposure to blood and equipment that could have blood on it. This includes avoiding sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes and other personal care items. Pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B can receive medication, and the baby can be treated at birth to reduce the risk of infection in the infant.

Getting Vaccinated Against Hepatitis

A Passport Health travel health specialist can provide vaccinations against hepatitis A and B. If you have upcoming travel plans, schedule a pre-travel health exam at least four weeks before your trip to start your vaccinations.

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control: World Hepatitis Day Is July 28th
World Health Organization: World Hepatitis Day
Passport Health: Hepatitis A Vaccination
Passport Health: Hepatitis B Vaccination

Beach Lovers, Get These Vaccinations for Thailand!

Sunset in Tao island, Thailand
Tropical Sunset on Tao Island, Thailand

 

Thinking of Thailand invokes images of blue waters, sparkling beaches and tropical drinks while watching the sunset. Who doesn’t dream of relaxing on a stunning beach in Thailand and snorkeling through the azure waters? Make sure you are well protected before your exotic adventure. Vaccinations for Thailand can help ensure your good health during your trip and upon your return to home.

5 Tips for an Unbeatable Beach Vacation in Thailand

If you’ve never been to Thailand before, there are a few things to know before setting up that umbrella on the beach. These tips will help you have the trip to Thailand you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Choose the right beach.
Different Thailand beaches have distinct personalities. If you’re a relaxed and easy going type of person, consider Kata Beach, Phuket. If you’re bringing the whole family, try Hua Hin Beach, Hua Hin. Those who love nightlife should consider Haad Rin, Koh Pha Ngan.

2. Consider activities.
Thinking of snorkeling or going scuba diving? Try the southern and western beaches of Ko Chang Island. Want to explore a desert island? Visit the Koh Mun Nork.

3. Pack for the destination.
If you’ll be doing a lot of swimming, you might want to have an extra swimsuit. Be sure to pack waterproof sunscreen, a cover-up, floppy hat, sunglasses, mosquito repellent, a first aid kit, pain reliever, anti-diarrheal medication and any over-the-counter or prescription medicines you regularly use.

4. Find hidden treasures.
From December through February, the most popular beaches in Thailand will be filled with tourists. Visiting some places off the beaten path will help you maintain a state of relaxation and enjoy some privacy. Consider Koh Lao Liang, and be sure to bring a camera for taking photos of the spectacular cliffs. Pack some sturdy shoes and lightweight clothing if you plan to explore the area.

5. Schedule a pre-travel health consultation.
A visit to a Passport Health travel health specialist for a pre-travel health consultation will help to ensure your health and safety during your trip to Thailand and upon your return back home. Our travel health specialist will review your medical history and recommend vaccines to protect you against diseases during your travels.

Which Shots for Thailand Do I Need?

The exact immunizations for Thailand that you need will depend upon your personal health history as well as the activities you plan on completing during your trip. In general, you’ll need to receive vaccines for Thailand that include:

Six weeks before your scheduled departure date for Thailand, make a visit to a Passport Health travel health specialist. They will review your medical history, provide the vaccinations and preventive medications you need and give you advice about staying well during your trip. If you become ill upon your return home, our travel health specialists will also be available to provide medical care and guidance.

Sources:
Go Thailand Article on Top 10 Thailand Beach Destinations
Travel Channel Article on Thailand’s Hidden Beaches
CDC Health Information for Travelers to Thailand
Passport Health Vaccination and Travel Tips for Thailand

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer in Tanzania

Traveler Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro and Discovers New Passion while Teaching Abroad

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer

 

Name: Jennifer
Originally lived in/traveled from Denver, CO; now living in Moshi, Tanzania
Destination: Tanzania
Trip Date: February and March, 2014

Tanzania is home to Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level, it is also the highest free standing mountain in the world. An estimated 25,000 people climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year. In our interview below, Jennifer shares her climbing adventure and personal discoveries made while in Tanzania.

What was the purpose of your trip?
I was in Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro and to do volunteer work.

Did you travel alone, with family/friends, or with a group?
I climbed Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents International and volunteered with Cross-Cultural Solutions.

Do you have any previous experience with travel abroad?
Yes, I have traveled extensively and recently lived for a year in Bologna, Italy.

How did the daily life of the locals differ from the life you live back home?
In Moshi, most people live on less than $2 per day. People live with hardships such as lack of running water and electricity and high rates of HIV. They do not have many material things and so their joy comes more from experiences: visiting with family and friends, tending to children, making crafts, learning something new. They have the biggest and warmest smiles I have ever seen. They remind me that I don’t need security, status or things to be joyful.

Did you eat any local delicacies or interesting foods during your trip?
I ate a lot of fresh tropical fruits! The mango, pineapple, and watermelon in Tanzania are delicious. On the coast and in Zanzibar, I enjoyed lots of fresh seafood. I also came to enjoy ugali, or cornmeal porridge, which is a staple in East Africa.

How was the weather different than in your hometown?
Tanzania is on the equator and has a tropical climate. There are not four seasons, only a wet season and a dry season. I was there during the ending of dry season and the beginning of wet season. The rains are magnificent. When it rains, the streets become rivers of mud!

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

What was the most memorable experience during your trip?
Climbing Kilimanjaro was memorable because I made it to the summit but then developed HAPE – high altitude pulmonary edema. Climbing down the mountain with fluid in my lungs was far more difficult than climbing up, and was probably the most physically challenging thing I have ever done, and I have run marathons and climbed many other mountains. The other memorable experience was teaching high school during my volunteer placement. I was supposed to be doing health-related work, but this school really needed a teacher and they asked me if I would be willing to give it a shot. I tried it and loved it! The kids were amazing. I had such a great experience I am going back for at least another 6 months.

Did you find any cultural similarities between Tanzania and Denver?
People are people everywhere. Tanzanians love to laugh – they tend to have well-developed senses of humor. I would find myself joking around with the directors of my school as if they were my girlfriends back home. Sometimes I would marvel at how different our lives were. One of the directors was married when she was 14 to a man 30 years older who already had 3 wives, but we could still establish great rapport and working relationships, which were/are evolving quickly into genuine friendships.

What was most surprising about your trip?
I was surprised how much I loved teaching. I have never envisioned myself as a teacher – I always thought I would find the experience of a room full of children overwhelming. But these kids touched my heart every single day. I think I learn more from them than they do from me.

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer in Tanzania

 

What places of interest or activities do you recommend in Tanzania?
Tanzania is a great country in Africa to visit. It is a poor but stable country, with over 120 ethnic tribes living peacefully alongside one another. Moshi is at the base of Kilimanjaro, which is a very impressive mountain – the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Even if you don’t climb to Kili’s summit, you can still enjoy scenic day hikes at its base. There are numerous game parks in the area: Serengeti, Tarangire, and my personal favorite, Ngorongoro, which is considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. You also shouldn’t miss the Tanzanian coastline, which has miles and miles of undeveloped beaches. The beaches of Zanzibar are not to be missed either. They are busier than the beaches on the mainland, but they are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The sea there is mesmerizing; it is varying shades of turquoise, and changes color throughout the day and depending on the weather. When I was in Zanzibar, I just wanted to sit and watch the water all day long!

Did you visit any other countries in the area? If yes, which countries?
I did not visit any other countries but when I return, I would like to visit Kenya, Malawi, and Rwanda. I feel like I could continue to explore sub-Saharan Africa for the rest of my days and never run out of things to learn, places to see, people to meet.

How did your trip impact the way you view life abroad?
I would say the trip deeply impacted me – I moved to Tanzania in June! The biggest impact was the realization of how rewarding cultural exchanges can be. I shared my skills and knowledge with some local schoolchildren, and they taught me about hope, resilience, and courage. Some of my kids have HIV, yet they do not complain. They come to school on time, with their clothes pressed and smiles on their faces, ready to learn. I am humbled by their example.

Are you planning a trip to Tanzania or another country? Be sure you are healthy and prepared for your adventure by scheduling a visit with a travel health specialist before you go.

Passport Health Global
Passport Health blog: Safari Enthusiasts, Get These Vaccinations for Tanzania
Cross-Cultural Solutions

Doing Good Globally: Project C.U.R.E.

The acts of giving and helping others are tremendously powerful. Not only does charitable giving open one’s eyes to a new perspective on life, but it also increases human feelings of connectedness by providing the knowledge that you, a single individual, put your unique talents to work to make a direct impact on the life of another human being. Volunteering time and talents and charitable giving allow us all to recognize that we have the power to effect change; what can be more fulfilling than realizing we all have the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Dr. James Jackson is a remarkable individual who put his experience and talents to work to effect change. Dr. Jackson describes himself as “the happiest man in the world.” However, his work as an international economic consultant in developing countries put him in direct contact with the unhappiest of situations in which people were impoverished, sick, and dying. Tragically, Dr. Jackson learned that many of these sick patients in developing countries often were denied care because the most basic medical supplies and equipment were not available to local clinics. After seeing this exact situation play out before his eyes during a trip to Brazil, Dr. Jackson was moved to action to provide relief to such people. When he returned to the U.S., Dr. Jackson began collecting medical supplies and storing them in the garage of his Colorado home. Within a month’s time, he was able to amass enough supplies to fill a cargo container; he shipped this to Brazil, and the rest is, well, history.

WATCH this video to learn more about how Project C.U.R.E delivers health and hope.

From this beginning that centered on the commitment of one individual to make a difference, Project C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment) has grown to be the largest provider of the highest quality donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world. Not only is the organization notable for the quantity of supplies donated, but it is equally noteworthy for its constant innovation including efficient and accurate inventory systems, supply chain management, expert management of logistics, and strong in-country relationships. Since its founding, Project C.U.R.E. has reached patients and families in over 130 countries, delivering health and hope to the world’s most needy people. To meet these needs, the organization has expanded within the United States and currently maintains large distribution warehouses in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Tennessee. It operates over 400,000 square feet of warehouse space in 17 US cities, receives 26,000 types of donated medical supplies and equipment, and hosts more than 17,000 volunteers each year to sort, inspect, inventory, and pack supplies for delivery all over the globe. Operating on 1.6% administrative overhead, Project C.U.R.E is one of the 20 most cost-effective nonprofits in the US. More information and statistics about Project C.U.R.E. can be found in the organization’s annual report.

Project C.U.R.E.’s mission and services are indispensable in the modern world. The resource gap between the rich and poor is staggering, but Project C.U.R.E.’s donations help to fill the health gaps in developing countries by giving doctors and nurses the health tools they need to deliver quality care and medical services to their communities. As a result of the compassion, dedication, and hard work of thousands of volunteers across the US who give and coordinate the shipping of life-saving medical supplies every week from the Project C.U.R.E.’s warehouses, thousands of people are alive today who otherwise would not be.

With the help of so many dedicated and passionate supporters, Project C.U.R.E is able to continue delivering health and hope around the world, and Passport Health is proud to be able to provide support to this organization that is doing so much global good. Passport Health recently donated gloves, syringes, thermometers, and other medical supplies to support Project C.U.R.E.’s important, life-saving global work, and Passport Health looks forward to continuing to support Project C.U.R.E. in the future.

Barbara Bush once wisely observed, “Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.” Passport Health encourages you to put your talents to work in the service of others; not only will you expand your personal horizons, but you also have the opportunity to add value to society via individual good work.

To make a donation to Project C.U.R.E., please visit this webpage, and click here to learn more about the organization in general.

Good Health: Why Do Nurses Matter?

Group of Nurses

 

When you think of how medical professionals save lives on a daily basis, your mind probably turns to the hard work of physicians. While doctors carry a considerable load in promoting good health, nurses make a lifesaving impact on the lives of countless patients on a daily basis too. Nurses are an essential component in health promotion, disease prevention, patient care and education, and they are even more crucially important to promoting health and wellness during flu season.

The Lifesaving Impact of Nurses

Registered nurses are the backbone of the health care delivery system. They make significant impact on the lives of patients by providing around-the-clock monitoring, education, assessments and care. As the populations of the United States and Canada continue to age, with an increasing proportion of the populace made up of the elderly, nurses will play an even more important role in providing care and comfort to patients and their families. After all, the job of a nurse is to provide holistic care, educate patients, offer emotional support, prevent illness, promote health, deliver medication and aid in the cure of illness and injury.

There are many types of nurses you may encounter in a medical setting, including registered nurses, advance practice nurses, nurse practitioners and more. Nurses may have a specialty in labor and delivery, geriatrics, pediatrics, urgent care, psychiatry or other fields of expertise. During flu season, nurses with immunology expertise administer the flu vaccine to millions of recipients across North America.

How Nurses Change Lives

Nurses play an essential role in promoting health. The duties of nurses include patient education, vaccination, administration of medication, providing patient care, and providing medical rehabilitation. Nurses also advocate for their patients to help ensure that every individual gets appropriate care. Registered nurses not only make a day-to-day difference in your well-being and the well-being of your neighbors, friends and family, but they also promote public health and design innovative ways to enhance the health of people around the world.

The Importance of Flu Shots

Every fall, flu season begins in North America. The virus circulates around the world, and the virus typically changes enough that even if you got sick with the flu last year, you can still get sick again. The flu is a serious disease that can lead to life-threatening complications, especially among young children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Luckily, you can protect yourself from this potentially deadly disease by getting your annual flu vaccination, administered by a dedicated nurse.

Your flu nurse will generally administer the flu vaccine via one of two delivery methods. The nasal mist flu vaccine can be sprayed directly into a patient’s nostrils. Alternatively, most people choose to get a flu shot injection to protect not only themselves but also their loved ones and wider community from illness. Indeed, when a nurse gives you the flu shot, there is not only less chance that you will fall ill, but also less chance that you will unknowingly pass the virus on to others. Remember that the most vulnerable members of society, such as the very young or those with compromised immune systems, typically cannot get the flu shot. By getting vaccinated, you, and the nurse who administered your vaccine, help protect others.

Are you a Registered Nurse looking to make an extra impact this flu season? Apply for a rewarding job administering flu vaccine with Passport Health.

Sources:
Passport Health: Careers
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario: Careers in Nursing
EduBlogs: Why Registered Nurses Are Important
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Possible Breakthrough in Malaria Vaccine Research

Vaccine Research

 

The impact of malaria around the world is incredible. This scourge is a leading cause of death in tropical regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. Multiple types of Plasmodium parasites cause malaria and several types of mosquitoes spread the parasites through their bites. Because of the efficiency of Anopheles mosquitoes and the prevailing weather conditions that allow year-long transmission, the health and economic impacts of malaria are significant. More than 216 million cases of malaria are diagnosed around the world annually, and more than 627,000 people die each year of the disease. More than 90 percent of those deaths are African children. Because of this, scientists have long been searching for a vaccine. A recent discovery in a rare group of immune children may hold important clues for successful vaccine development.

The Immune Children

Scientists have discovered a rare group of children in Tanzania who maintain a natural immunity to malaria infection. These children have developed an antibody capable of killing off the parasites and preventing infection. The original group of children included 1,000 individuals who had blood taken at regular intervals. Researchers found that 6 percent of the children had immunity to the Plasmodium parasites. The antibodies within the children halted infection by containing the parasites within the red blood cells. This effectively halted the complex life cycle of the parasites.

Vaccine Research

The American researchers collected antibodies from the malaria-resistant Tanzanian children and injected them into mice. When the laboratory mice were exposed to Plasmodium parasites, they resisted infection. Mice that received the antibodies survived an average of twice as long and had less than one-fourth of the number of parasites in their blood compared to mice that did not receive antibodies from the children. International health scientists believe that these antibodies could hold the key to a successful vaccine.

Other Malaria Vaccine Research

One vaccine is currently in a stage III clinical trial as its developer seeks federal regulatory approval to expand the study. This is because the Phase III clinical trials showed that the drug nearly cut in half the number of malaria cases in young children and lowered malaria cases in infants by nearly 25 percent.

Why a Malaria Vaccine Is Important

Although they may have fought the disease through treatment, the survivors of malaria infection still deal with ongoing health problems, including limitations in their ability to perform self-care and other daily activities. For individuals dealing with malaria infection, the economic costs are high, including the purchase of drugs for treating malaria at home, costs related to visiting medical clinics and pharmacies, reduced productivity at work, absence from work or school, expenses for further preventive measures such as mosquito netting, and expenses for burial when death results from infection. Governments must deal with high costs as well, including maintaining health facilities, providing treatment and medication, providing preventive public health measures, and dealing with reduced economic growth.

Protecting Yourself from Malaria

If you plan to make a trip to a region of the world where malaria is endemic, be sure to visit a travel health clinic. During your visit, a travel health specialist can provide you with anti-malarial drugs to help reduce your risk of infection. You’ll also receive a pre-travel health exam, any necessary travel vaccines and medications, and guidance on using mosquito repellant, mosquito nets and other equipment.

Sources:
Tech times: Novel malaria vaccine made from blood of Tanzanian children immune to the disease hailed as breakthrough
BBC News: Immune Children Aid Vaccine Hunt
Times of India: Scientists find rare group of children who are naturally immune to malaria
Centers for Disease Control: Malaria Vaccines

Top 10 Safety Travel Tips for Female Business Travelers

traveling businesswoman

Female business travelers have become an increasingly powerful and important travel market segment over the past few years as more women continue to enter into fields that have a heavy travel requirement such as finance, marketing, and business. As the percentage of female business travelers continues to rise, female professionals are on track to travel just as much as their male counterparts. Many women who travel alone describe an incredible sense of freedom and possibility, but there are also the challenges, ranging from safety to health, that make solo traveling daunting enough that many women may never take the opportunity.

All travelers should always take precautions, but here are Passport Health’s top 10 safety travel tips especially designed for female business travelers.

1. Take Your Health with You

Whether you’re a business executive or a seasoned adventurer, you’ll need to deal with unique health issues on the road. It’s crucial to have an individual travel health assessment; receiving required immunizations, obtaining travel health insurance, understanding tropical disease prevention strategies, and traveling with prescription medications will all help to keep you well overseas. In addition, packing an adequate supply of feminine hygiene products, contraceptives, and a first aid kit is essential since some items may be scarce in some parts of the world.

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Always be conscious of your surroundings and the people around you. Never leave your food or drinks unattended and don’t appear or tell anyone you are traveling alone. In addition, avoid walking alone late at night, and stay in public areas where there are always other people around. Taking some time before your trip to research your destination will help you determine the unsavory parts of the town to avoid.

3. Crime-Proof Yourself

It’s crucial that solo female travelers do not stand out from the crowd. You should minimize any attention brought to yourself to avoid running into trouble. Lower your tourist profile and try not to ever give the impression you’re lost. If you are lost, ask for directions from a police officer, shop keeper, or another woman on the street. Make sure to leave all valuable items in your hotel safe, and avoid carrying any flashy items around. This will help minimize the attention from thieves who may think a solo woman is an easy target.

4. Find Safe Accommodations

A traveler’s primary goal should be finding the safest accommodations in order to feel comfortable on her trip. Ground transportation and hotel accommodations should be planned well in advance. Requesting a room that is not on the ground level, is close to the elevators, and has proper safety features like locks on the doors and windows will all contribute to a safer environment. Planning all the transportation arrangements ahead of time and relying on the hotel’s recommendations can help to ensure you’re using only legal and reputable driving services.

5. Stay Connected

When traveling solo, it’s important to stay in touch with someone who can keep tabs on you, whether it’s a friend or family member. Make sure to keep that person up-to-date with your location, and provide him or her with a general itinerary of your trip. It’s also a good idea to link up with other solo female travelers along the way with whom you feel comfortable sharing a taxi or sitting next to on a train or bus.

6. Make Sure You’re Covered

When getting ready to travel, having the right insurance is a key consideration to maximize any traveler’s peace of mind and safety overseas. There are three different types of insurance travelers should consider, including medical evacuation, travel health, and trip cancellation insurance. Women who are traveling alone should always be prepared for the different situations that could occur, and it’s best to only seek medical help from high-quality providers. Insurance will help alleviate concerns about expense.

7. Confidence is Key

Whether you’re walking on a street at home or 7,000 miles away, walking confidently and with direction is an effective technique for making yourself appear less vulnerable. Women should look and act as if they know where they are going and know what they are doing at all times. An easy way to do this is to try and blend in with the locals in terms of actions and appearance. Make sure you are always polite but reserved, since some types of body language and smiling can be interpreted as a sign of encouragement towards males.

8. Identity Protection

For female travelers, there are a few tips that are easy to implement to protect your identity and disguise that you’re flying solo. When checking into a hotel, sign in as Mr. or Mrs., and ask the desk clerk not to mention your room number aloud so other guests can’t hear. Leave the television or radio on when you’re gone as well as the do not disturb sign to give the illusion the room is occupied. Whether or not you are married, wearing a fake wedding ring may fend off unwanted attention. In addition, as a precaution against loss or theft, have copies of all your travel documents, and leave a copy with family and friends at home.

9. Strictly Business

Women who travel abroad for professional purposes may realize in some parts of the world, the concept of a career women is highly unusual. It’s important to get thoroughly acquainted with the destination country’s customs and business protocol. You should always meet your business contacts in the lobby of your hotel to avoid giving out your room number. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the office and conform to the attire that is acceptable in your destination.

10. Find Your Feet

Females who travel abroad for business may find that, in some parts of the world, privileges and rights are different for women when compared to the equality and freedoms enjoyed at home. Among some of these challenges are a lack of access to female physicians and discriminatory treatment by officials. It is important to maintain cultural sensitivity while abroad and inform yourself before you go. The more you are able to adjust to the different culture norms, the safer you will be in your travels.