Taking care while traveling

I use the following technique to prevent being separated from my essentials at airport security (Nov. ’04, pg.18).

Before I leave for the airport, I transfer all items that I normally carry in my pockets, with the exception of my wallet, to a single plastic bag, which goes inside my backpack. Since there are no valuable items in this plastic bag, I don’t mind if the backpack goes through the security machine. Thus, I have nothing in my pockets but my wallet.

For 40 years, I have carried passports and tickets in a neck pouch (available at all stores where travel accessories are sold), which I can hide under my clothes or access on top of my clothes when needed. The zipper in the neck pouch doesn’t trigger the security alarm.

I read Dr. Baratta’s excellent article in the November ’04 issue with great interest. It is wonderful to have an expert in travel medicine on board. I would like to make the following comments.

On page 94, Dr. Baratta says, “Following are some tips for staying healthy on the road. . .” Item two states, “Wash your hands often with soap and water.”

While this, of course, is excellent advice, I feel that — since the traveler often is not near a clean water supply — what should be added is this: carry Purell® instant hand sanitizer or an equivalent waterless, alcohol-based hand rub and use it frequently, and I mean frequently.

On page 93, under the heading “Central America,” Dr. Barratta gives the impression that everybody going to Central America should be vaccinated against rabies. According to the World Health Organization (www.who.int/ith/_ 03chapter06.html) and the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies), only the following people need to be vaccinated.

I quote from the CDC site: “Pre-exposure vaccination is suggested if. . .

“1. Your planned activity will bring you into contact with wild or domestic animals (for example, biologists, veterinarians or agriculture specialists working with animals).

“2. You will be visiting remote areas where medical care is difficult to obtain or may be delayed (for example, hiking through remote villages where dogs are common).

“3. Your stay is longer than one month in an area where dog rabies is common (the longer you stay, the greater the chance of an encounter with an animal).”

Note that even if you are vaccinated and you get bitten, you will still need treatment albeit in a less extensive fashion.

Contributing Editor