October 31, 2004 |
The first effective vaccine against malaria made news earlier this month as scientists reported success in fighting the mosquito-borne illness that strikes 400 million people annually worldwide. In clinical trials in Africa, the vaccine prevented nearly half of new infections in children and reduced the number of serious cases by nearly 60%. But because more clinical trials are needed and manufacturing plants take five to six years to build, the new malaria vaccine isn't expected to be widely available until 2010 at the earliest.
August 22, 2004 |
Search on Google using the words "travel health information," and more than 9 million results come up. No wonder it's difficult for travelers to separate legitimate advice from worthless talk. One way to avoid inaccurate or outdated information, experts say, is to stick with governmental sites, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's newly revamped travel health Web pages. Although some commercial travel sites do carry solid health information, overall they fall short, according to Dr. Herbert DuPont, chief of internal medicine and medical director of travel medicine at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston.
July 11, 2004 |
Our catamaran was headed to the Hawaiian island of Lanai last month, and the crew was on deck doling out warm cinnamon rolls. But my sister Maureen was more interested in my wrists. "Do you have your bands on?" She was talking about acupressure wristbands that she had bought, items marketed as a remedy for motion sickness. Apparently she remembered our family car trips from childhood, when I got sick before we passed the city-limit sign, or perhaps the time when, as an adult, I vomited on a date's sailboat.
June 13, 2004 |
Antibiotics can be your best friend, especially when infection or traveler's diarrhea strikes in the middle of a glorious vacation. It's crucial to know which antibiotics are worth toting, how they can ease symptoms of illness and when it's wise to pop a pill. In some cases, it might even be before symptoms appear. Infectious illnesses are common in travelers but account for only 1% to 3% of deaths, says Dr. Jay Keystone, a travel medicine specialist at the University of Toronto and Toronto General Hospital in Canada who published a review of antibiotics for travelers in the February issue of the journal Current Infectious Disease Reports.
May 30, 2004 |
Sharks get the headlines, but other sea creatures are statistically more likely to harm ocean-bound vacationers this summer, experts say. Stings from jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war are more common than shark bites, says Dr. Arlen Stauffer, who practices emergency medicine at Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. There, he says, "3 million people visit the beach each year, and we average 10 shark bites. " Come summer, his emergency staff will treat that many jellyfish and man-of-war stings in a single month, while countless other stings go unreported or are treated by lifeguards at the beach.
May 16, 2004 |
Entomologists hesitate to predict how bad mosquitoes and other pests will be this season for travelers headed to national parks, the coasts or other areas where bugs can be plentiful. That's because the proliferation of the pesky pests depends on rainfall and other factors. But on one point most bug experts agree: This year, California may be a prime target for West Nile virus, a disease transmitted when mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds bite humans. The first occurrence of West Nile virus in California was last year, and "the second year seems to have more intense activity," says Roger Nasci, a research entomologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Fort Collins, Colo.
March 7, 2004 |
Some people have a healthy fear of germs, and then there are the neurotics for whom every doorknob, airplane pillow and hotel towel poses a health hazard. Here's a reality check on some common concerns: ? Restroom doorknobs: Some travelers are adamant about not touching a restroom door or doorknob when they leave, anxious that others have not washed their hands. That's not as neurotic as some might think, says Dr. Peter Galier, chief of staff at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.
February 22, 2004 |
If you think dinner aboard a cruise ship always starts with a martini, sails along with a meaty main dish swimming in heavy sauce and ends with death-by-chocolate cake for dessert, you may not know what you're missing. Light, low-calorie cuisine is increasingly appearing on ships. Sure, most major lines still serve all the decadent fare a person could want, and many passengers prefer to indulge at sea and worry about the consequences later. But with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing that 61% of American adults are overweight or obese, and with many of those people trying to shed pounds, cruise lines are receiving requests for lighter food options.