Signs of Post-Travel Sickness
When most people return from a trip to an exotic location, they bring home photos, keepsakes, and gift items for family and friends. However, fever, upset stomach, and other physical ailments can also accompany a traveler home. Although most post-travel symptoms are generally mild and may be similar to the common cold or mild digestive system upset, there are some signs that may indicate a more serious problem. People who experience unusual or more severe symptoms following a trip abroad should seek medical attention immediately.
Signs of Illness
Persistent or high fever in people who have recently visited countries in which malaria is a concern should report their symptoms to a healthcare professional immediately. Malaria may occur even in travelers who have taken malaria prophylaxis prior to traveling, and the onset of fever may not emerge until as many as 30 days after initial infection. Therefore, it is important to report your travel itinerary to your doctor, even if the trip occurred months ago, as the incubation period for malaria can be lengthy.
Skin abnormalities may indicate the presence of an infection. Many travelers report bug bites, boils, rashes and irritation after returning from a trip. While most travel-related skin conditions are mild, changes in the skin may be a sign of a more serious problem, especially if accompanied by a fever.
Take care if you return home with a case of diarrhea. Not only can cases that last more than a few days result in serious dehydration, persistent diarrhea could be due to a parasitic infection that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
During Your Office Visit
Be sure to go over these trip details with your healthcare professional during your post trip consultation:
- Length of stay
- Type of accommodations
- Eating and drinking strategies
- Whether you visited urban or rural areas
- Whether you experienced bug bites
Visit a Travel Medicine Clinic
In many cases, visiting a travel health specialist prior to a trip can help travelers understand any health risks present in their intended destination. A travel health specialist can administer vaccinations, prescribe antibiotics and malaria prophylaxis, and give further instruction on how best to avoid becoming ill. Travel supplies are available for purchase, and a travel health specialist will also advise on how to properly use key supplies such as water purification kits, mosquito netting and insect repellents. Crucially, a travel health specialist will point out health issues to watch out for upon return so travelers know to which post-trip symptoms extra attention should be paid.
"Sick After Travel? Pay Attention to Your Symptoms! is republished with permission of Passport Health."
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