“Don’t get bit, don’t get
hit, don’t get lit, don’t do it,
and don’t eat shit”

Story and photo by Felicia Ennis

Each year roughly 45 million Americans travel abroad. Studies have shown the
most common travel related illnesses are traveler’s diarrhea and upper respiratory
infection. Either rich or poor, no one can afford to get sick while traveling.
Despite the upcoming warnings, “There is nothing like travel to change your
perspective.” Take a few preliminary precautions, stay alert, travel with purpose,
step out into the world and you will be rewarded, refreshed, invigorated.

“The most common travel illnesses
are food, water, and insect borne. Take
precautions, consult a travel medicine
provider prior to departure, and drink
only purified and/or filtered water,”
according to Stephanie Murphy,
Human Services Director, at Gallatin
County Health Department.
“Never eat food from street vendors
and if you do make sure it is fully
cooked. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables
on the street as well. In other
words, ‘cook it, boil it, peel it, or
forget it’,” Murphy adds. Malaria, a
disease transferred by mosquitoes,
kills more people than any other disease
in the world.
Here are a select few of the many
health related travel tips to consider
whether you travel locally or internationally:
Hydrate –The most overlooked
pitfall while traveling is dehydration.
Drink lots of water and say “no,
thank you” to ice in your Coke. It’s
likely the ice was made with tap water.
Check purchased water bottles to
confirm that the lid is actually sealed
and therefore not just tap water in a
reused bottle.
Vaccinate and immunize – Find out
what types of vaccinations you will
need to enter the country and get the
vaccinations four to six weeks prior
to departure in case you have a reaction
to one of them and need a little
recovery time. Be sure your immunizations
such as Tetanus, Thyphoid,
Hepatitis A and B are current. Also
check with the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention for other
recommendations before traveling.
Carry a copy of your immunizations
in case you need to confirm what shots
you have had.
First Aid – Bring your own first aid
kit. These are modest essentials:
Anti-motility agent
Cough drops
Cloth tape
Band Aids
Hand sanitizer
Alcohol prep pads
Keep medications close – Always
carry personal prescription medicines
in your carry-on luggage, and leave it
in checked baggage. It’s a trip disaster
to be separated from critical medications.
Travel insurance: Verify that your
personal insurance covers foreign
destinations and medical evacuation.
If it doesn’t you can purchase these
from a travel insurance company.
Travel insurance will cover medical
expenses, financial default of travel
suppliers, and other losses incurred
while traveling, internationally and
Avoid one-night stands: Traveling
can be exhausting. Two or more
nights in one place provide a chance
to rest and relax. When well rested
you’re less likely to get ill.
Pack light – If you can, limit yourself
to 20 pounds in a carry-on–size
bag. No one ever wishes they’d
traveled with a heavier suitcase.
Often the measure of a good traveler
is how light he or she travels.
This also depends on the nature of
your trip.
Wash your hands – Frequent hand
washing helps avoid illness. Keep
your hands away from your eyes
and mouth.
Montana native Felicia Ennis lives
in Livingston. Through her travel
company, Bella Treks, she designs
customized travel plans to Antarctica,
Alaska, the Arctic, Argentina,
Chile, the Galapagos, Morocco, Peru
and around Montana.