The Adventurous Traveler’s Guide to Health
Did you know . . .
- A leading cause of death among international travelers is not due to infectious diseases, terrorist threats or natural catastrophes, but rather motor vehicle accidents?
- You will cause less security scrutiny if you carry your medications in their original, clearly labelled containers instead of unmarked plastic bags?
- A flu vaccine is one of the most important vaccines for international travelers?
Dr. Sanford is a family practice physician whose speciality just happens to be travel and tropical medicine.
As co-medical director of the Travel Clinic at the University of Washington, his mission to to help travelers reduce the most common risks of injury or illness when going abroad.
His book, The Adventurous Traveler’s Guide to Health, is a compact manual for staying safe and healthy in your travels, particularly if those travels include developing countries.
Each chapter begins with “The Bottom Line,” a summary of the section’s contents for busy readers who want to cut to the chase and take away the most essential information in the shortest amount of time. The content covers immunizations, malaria (Hey – If it can happen to George Clooney, it can happen to anyone!), urban threats and travelers’ diarrhea (Somebody has to talk about it. Who better than a travel doc?).
Additional features include:
- Q & A
- maps showing the distribution of yellow fever in Africa and Latin America and meningococcal meningitis in Africa
- traveling with children
- traveling with chronic medical problems
- what to include in your medical kit
- post-trip precautions
- glossary of important health terms
- resources for further information
What I appreciate most about Dr. Sanford’s book is his common-sense approach that is respectful of the reader. He encourages adventurous travel that minimizes the risks while maximizing the payoffs. At the same time, Dr. Sanford recognizes that the cost of vaccines isn’t cheap and that not everyone has access to a specialist in travel medicine, and addresses each of these concerns in his book.
This author doesn’t shy away from controversial topics, such as the relationship between autism and vaccines, or taking the hormone melatonin to reduce jet lag, instead explaining his position on each based on personal experience and research.
Overall, it’s a handy guide that’s easy to pack for your next travel adventure.
There are a few topics I’d like to see covered in the next edition of The Adventurous Traveler’s Guide to Health:
- hand washing and hand sanitizers
- cruise illnesses and injuries
- a checklist of questions to ask your travel doc at your pre-trip appointment
As a travel writer, the one recommendation by Dr. Sanford that gave me pause is his recommendation to leave your laptop at home in favor of writing in longhand using a clipboard or a spiral-bound notebook. I do like to reduce my worry of potential theft or loss on the road, but I don’t see myself packing a clipboard. While the romantic in me loves the kind of journal favored by such adventurous travelers as Indiana Jones or Almasy in The English Patient – in fact, I wouldn’t be caught on the road without one – the practical blogger in me knows the value of getting copy to readers fast, hence the value of having a laptop. Hmm . . . What’s a travel writer to do? As always, that’s a personal judgment call.
Still, Dr. Sanford’s recommendation does make me question the need to carry one more gadget on a getaway. Now if only he could share his recommendations on what specific camera equipment I can safely leave behind on my next trip . . .