January 24, 2015 marked six months since the last polio case had been reported in Nigeria. The country has been aggressively working toward eliminating polio, and has shown a 92 percent decrease between 2013 and 2014. Polio is a viral disease that if not vaccinated for, can lead to paralysis, difficulty breathing, and in certain cases, death. There are two types of polio that can be contracted from the poliovirus, these include: non-paralytic polio and paralytic polio. In the case of non-paralytic polio, flu-like symptoms are most commonly displayed for a period of around 10 days. Paralytic polio is rare, but can affect the spinal cord, brainstem, or both. Post-polio syndrome includes many disabling symptoms, which can occur at an average of 35 years after the initial poliovirus infection. As of 2015, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan were the only places in the world had not completely eliminated polio.
World Kidney Day is today, Thursday, March 12, and it offers an opportunity to discuss how to travel safely when dealing with kidney problems. For individuals suffering from kidney issues, travel is still very possible, and it can be a huge morale booster. In fact, many doctors encourage travel for dialysis patients, as long as their health is stable.
For many people with kidney issues, traveling can appear to be an insurmountable task and more of a pipe dream than a reality. But, it is possible to travel and have fun while getting dialysis treatments. Most patients who receive the treatments can travel safely and continue their treatments while away from home, but it is first necessary that each patient consult with his or her physician before taking a trip.
It is important to begin to make preparations well in advance of your departure date if you are on dialysis. In fact, you should start planning at least six to eight weeks in advance, according to the National Kidney Foundation. This planning includes finding a dialysis center in the location you are be traveling to as well as making arrangements for appointments while you are there. This can be difficult during high traffic periods in certain areas or if you require a specific day or time for your treatments. Work with your primary doctor to help you navigate these hurdles.
Your temporary dialysis location will need some information from you, and this information likely includes:
- the dates you need dialysis treatment
- medical history
- recent lab results
- recent EKG
- recent x-ray
- dialysis prescription with 3-5 recent treatment records
- dialysis access type
- insurance information
- a list of medications you take during treatment and at home
This information should be sent to the center for review before you arrive. It is important for the center to know as much about you and your situation as possible before your arrival to ensure the highest quality of care.
If you have kidney issues, be careful while you are traveling, and don’t go overboard! Enjoy your trip, but try not to overexert yourself. Be sure to watch what you eat and drink, and make sure that you have received any recommended vaccinations for your destination. Vacations are a time to relax, so try to do so!
Finally, just in case, make plans for backup medical care. If you are working with a dialysis center, a doctor may be assigned to you with whom you should stay in contact overseas.
For more information on dialysis and travel, see the National Kidney Foundation’s page on the subject.
For more information on which vaccinations or other travel health needs you may have, visit Passport Health’s Travel Medicine portal.
Motion sickness affects one in every three people. This means that chances are you or someone you know suffers from cold sweats, uneasiness, nausea, and vomiting whenever hitting the road or venturing out at sea. A recent study shows that it’s not just pure luck that determines whether you are going to sail on smoothly by, but rather that some people are genetically predisposed to motion sickness.
The first ever genome-wide study conducted on motion sickness estimates that up to 70 percent of variation in risk for motion sickness is due to genetics. The genetics company behind the study, 23andMe, has published numerous genome-wide association studies; however, this was the first of the company’s research to include association results across a broad set of phenotype, the observable physical characteristics of a person or other species.
Prior research on motion sickness had suggested that the feelings of illness could be hereditary, and the new study confirms this with its finding that several genes may be linked to the nausea associated with movement in a car or on a boat. In fact, 35 genetic factors can now be tied to motion sickness.
Why do you travel? Pleasure and business are common reasons to take a trip, but one, perhaps less familiar, type of travel has become increasingly popular. Mission trips and other types of “PhilanthroTravel” are occurring with increasing frequency as people work to give back while they see the world. Recently, Passport Health teamed up with Project CURE, the largest provider of donated medical supplies in the world, to deliver lifesaving supplies to a hospital in Panama.
In the videos below, you’ll see interviews and highlights of this trip to Panama that Passport Health was fortunate enough to help with. During this mission to the Central American country, volunteers delivered a cargo container of medical supplies to a hospital in need to help the local people.
Remember, a key part of any travel to any region is keeping yourself safe and healthy before, during and after your trip. Let Passport Health be a part of your journey; schedule an appointment at a Passport Health travel clinic before leaving on your trip so that we can help you stay healthy with proper vaccination, medications and health advice. Taking care of your health is important so that you are best able to help others!
Just one question remains: What will your journey be?
Ebola and other tropical diseases pose a major threat to populations worldwide, especially when it comes to diagnosing the infection. Current diagnostic tools can take days to identify whether someone has an infection, but a new test created by a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers could change that.
The device consists largely of a paper strip, and it can identify Ebola fevers within minutes. Unlike other tests, like those that can identify only a single condition like pregnancy or strep, this one is capable of diagnosing more than just the virulent West African disease. Research published in an MIT study shows that it is capable of also identifying yellow fever, dengue fever and other viral hemorrhagic diseases.