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The Healthy Traveler

Staying in Shape by the Book

October 23, 1994|KATHLEEN DOHENY

In the last two years, a small but respectable crop of new or updated travel health books has hit the market. Each aims to help travelers return home in the same shape they left, or maybe better.

Among the newest offerings:

* "Health Information for International Travel" (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1993, $7 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402).

Updated annually, the CDC's guide is not jazzy reading, but it's brimming with good, accurate information. Besides including general recommendations for vaccinations, it gives specific advice about vaccinations during pregnancy or for the acutely ill. The 22 pages under "Health Hints for the Traveler" outline such risks as food- and drink-related ailments. They also cover cruise ship sanitation and what to watch for during the post-travel period.

* "Travelers' Health: How to Stay Healthy All Over the World" (Random House, 1994, $18, 212-751-2600).

Edited by Dr. Richard Dawood, this revised edition is a comprehensive bible for travelers. Its 14 chapters include sections on diseases spread by food and drink (cholera, food poisoning, others), water-related problems, "contact" diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy, and information on air travel, sea travel, vaccination and other topics.

* "Passport's Health Guide for International Travelers" (Passport Books, NTC Publishing Group, 1994, $12.95, 800-323-4900).

Perhaps the best organized of the bunch, this 170-page book discusses pre-trip preparation (vaccines, medical kits), the trip (jet lag, motion sickness) and a short chapter on the returning traveler (when to get medical attention). - "The Travel Health Clinic Pocket Guide to Healthy Travel" (Silvercat Publications, 1994, $13.95, 619-299-6774).

Written by Dr. Lawrence Bryson, a San Francisco travel health physician, this guide is also organized by how to stay healthy before, during and after a trip. Throughout the text are tidbits of information such as how to remove a tick and how to convert temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius. It is well presented and well packaged, but the price seems steep for such a tiny paperback.

* "Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa, and Latin America" (Moon Publications, 1993, $10.95, 800-345-5473).

Author Dirk Schroeder, well acquainted with the destinations he writes about, dispenses information for anyone headed to a developing country, whether for business or pleasure. He offers a pre-departure checklist, including information on malaria pills and the likelihood of needing blood transfusions in developing countries. Illustrations explain how to wrap bandages or stitch a wound. Maps illustrate countries where travelers should take precautions against yellow fever, hepatitis B, malaria and other ills.

* "Guide to Traveling Healthy" (Vacation Publications, 1994, $5.95, Vacation Publications, 1502 Augusta Drive, No. 415, Houston, Tex. 77057).

This 48-page, magazine-like guide is meant for those 50 and older, but much of the information applies to travelers of any age. The booklet covers preparation, jet lag and other travelers' banes, insurance questions and vaccination requirements. There are tips for traveling with children, traveling with disabilities and how to manage minor maladies on the road.

* "Altitude Illness: Prevention and Treatment" (The Mountaineers, 1994, $6.95, 206-223-6303).

This pocket guide is meant to help skiers, hikers or mountaineers. In nine short chapters, author Stephen Bezruchka, an emergency physician and veteran climber, helps readers learn the differences among acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

* "1994 International Travel Health Guide" (Travel Medicine, Inc., 1993, $17.95, 800-872-8633).

This year's guide is the fifth anniversary issue produced by Dr. Stuart Rose, an emergency medicine physician in Massachusetts. It's full of information that has caused travel experts to describe previous editions as one of the best travel health guides around. In addition to sections on trip preparation and jet lag, Rose offers tips for food and drink safety, avoiding travelers' diarrhea and malaria and protection from insect-borne diseases. He devotes a chapter each to emergency medical transport and travel insurance, business travel and travel during pregnancy.

The Healthy Traveler appears the second and fourth week of every month.

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