You’ve taken a big step by deciding to go on a mission trip to another part of the world. Your purpose is probably to provide help to residents of a developing country and spread a spiritual message. What you don’t want is for communicable diseases to spread to you.
To protect yourself, start looking into which mission trip vaccinations you’ll need several weeks before you leave. The exact ones you should get depend on where you’re going. Fortunately, your doctor can make knowledgeable recommendations based on where your mission trip is located and in what season you’re traveling.
NOTE: Some vaccines require multiple shots a few weeks apart to maximize their effectiveness. Begin the process as soon as possible to ensure they have plenty of time to start working. Most vaccines last for several years, so there’s no need to worry about them wearing off before your trip.
Recommended Mission Trip Vaccines
- Routine vaccinations: You probably already have all the routine vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as polio, measles, tetanus and Double check your immunization records, and schedule a flu shot and tetanus booster if needed.
- Hepatitis A: This vaccine is recommended no matter where you’re traveling. It protects you from months of sickness and nausea that could result from ingesting contaminated food and water on your mission trip.
- Hepatitis B: Since this disease spreads through contact with infected blood, working at a medical clinic or performing manual labor on your mission trip could put you at risk. A vaccine provides the protection you need.
- Typhoid: Plan to get this vaccination for travels anywhere outside the US, unless you’re headed to Australia. It prevents a potentially life-threatening fever that can occur if you eat contaminated food and water.
- Yellow fever: If your mission trip is located in South America or Africa, plan to get a yellow fever vaccine to protect you from infected mosquitoes.
- Malaria: This disease is a risk everywhere besides Australia and Europe. However, there is no vaccine for malaria. Instead, your doctor can prescribe medication, which you’ll need to take before, during and after your mission trip for optimal protection.
- Meningitis: While this disease is found throughout the world, you probably only need a vaccination for meningitis if your mission trip takes place in sub-Saharan Africa, known as the “meningitis belt,” between December and June when the disease is most common.
- Japanese encephalitis: Mission trips to Australia and Asia present an increased risk for this rare disease spread by mosquitoes. Your doctor may recommend a vaccine to ensure your protection.
Check the CDC
The CDC website has useful travel information for your mission trip. Check the Travelers’ Health page for the latest health notices and updates you should know to safeguard your health before your leave.
There’s a frightening amount of misinformation floating around regarding sexually transmitted diseases. Are you in the know, or do you fall for some of the most common misconceptions? Clear the air by learning the truth about STD myths.
STD Myth: HIV is Fatal
While the human immunodeficiency virus reduces your body’s ability to fight disease, this diagnosis is certainly not a death sentence. Proper treatment using today’s advanced technology can help you live a long and fulfilling life. It’s even possible for HIV patients to have children who are HIV-negative.
STD Myth: Public Toilet Seats Pass on STDs
No scientific study has ever concluded that sitting on a public toilet can give you a sexually transmitted disease. This is because bacteria and viruses that cause STDs don’t live outside the body very long, and remnants of urine and fecal matter on toilet seats don’t cause STDs.
STD Myth: It’s Easy to Tell if Someone Has an STD
While a lot of sexually transmitted diseases cause visible lesions, sores, swelling and other symptoms, many individuals with herpes, Chlamydia and human papillomavirus (HPV) are asymptomatic for long periods of time. You can still, in fact, contract these diseases from an infected individual who has no visible outbreak at the time. Therefore, it’s best to rely on test results and not assume someone is STD-free based on how clean or attractive they look.
STD Myth: The Only Way to Contract an STD is by Having Sex
STDs are transmitted through semen, blood, genital contact and sometimes saliva. This means activities such as sharing razors, getting a blood transfusion, having oral or anal sex, using unwashed sex toys and pulling out before ejaculation can all result in spreading STDs. Genital and oral herpes can even transmit just by kissing or sharing the same straw.
STD Myth: Birth Control Pills Prevent STDs
The pill is designed to prevent pregnancy. It does not protect against STDs. However, condoms are another form of contraception that significantly reduces the risk of pregnancy and STDs. Just don’t fall for the myth that two condoms are better than one. The friction between them increases the risk of breaking or leaking, so just stick with one condom every time.
STD Testing in Atlanta, GA
According to the American Sexual Health Association, about half of sexually active people contract an STD by age 25, yet only about 12 percent of people from age 15 to 25 report being tested each year. If you or your partner is concerned about STDs, Perimeter Clinic is here to help. We offer same-day STD testing in a clean, confidential setting. The entire process takes just 15 to 20 minutes, and our dedicated counselors will guide you each step of the way.
Contact Perimeter Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia at 678-999-8263 to make an appointment and help protect your health today.
You take your car in as recommended for routine oil changes and inspections because you want the engine and other parts to last. Why wouldn’t you give your body the same preventative care with annual physicals?
Several major medical organizations suggest making regular doctor visits a priority, including the American College of Physicians and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Here’s why.
Assess Your Overall Health
A physical exam begins by taking your vital signs, including your temperature, pulse, respiration rate and blood pressure. These simple measurements indicate the state of your essential body functions.
Your doctor also measures your height and weight, tests your reflexes, and checks inside your mouth and ears for anything abnormal. Comparing your results with the normal range for your age and gender can help the doctor assess your overall health.
Receive Personalized Lifestyle Recommendations
Are you interested in starting a new exercise program, but you’re not sure how it will affect your arthritis? Perhaps you want to start a vegetarian diet, but you don’t want to miss out on important nutrients. Or maybe a prescription you’re on is causing side effects, and you want to request an adjustment.
Your annual physical is the perfect time to ask your doctor about any health and lifestyle questions you have. He or she will steer you in the right direction based on your current fitness level, age and other factors, which may help you adopt lifestyle behaviors that will help keep you healthy.
Catch Dangerous Health Conditions Early
Many chronic, potentially life-threatening conditions start out slowly and may go unnoticed for years. That’s why adult physicals include cancer screenings and blood tests to check your cholesterol, blood glucose levels and other critical numbers.
You may have no idea that the mole on your chest is melanoma – or that you’re at risk for heart disease – or that you have pre-diabetes – until you get the results back from your annual physical. With this information, you can make lifestyle changes or begin treatment to curb the disease and possibly even cure it.
Connect With Your Doctor
If you only visit a general practitioner when you’re sick, you never have a chance to get to know your healthcare provider outside the stress of a crisis. Doctors and patients both benefit when they create a connection during annual physicals, which can help ensure the very best care if an injury or illness occurs.
Enjoy Affordable Healthcare
Most health insurance covers the cost of preventative care for nothing but an affordable copay. This means the cost to see your doctor once a year for an adult physical is practically free, yet the chance to assess your health, catch dangerous health conditions, receive advice and connect with your doctor is worth its weight in gold.
Do you have plans to travel overseas this summer? You’re undoubtedly excited to study abroad, visit friends or family, or aid in disaster recovery. In addition to securing a passport and making travel arrangements, you must also get vaccinated. Most life-threatening communicable diseases have effective vaccines that can protect your health during your travels. Consider the most common travel vaccinations that American tourists should receive.
All travelers should be up-to-date with routine vaccines before traveling. Diseases such as polio, measles, tetanus and rubella are all but extinct in the United States, but they are still common in other countries. For your safety, make sure anyone traveling abroad in your family has received all the routine vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Common Travel Vaccines
The specific vaccinations you seek will depend on where you’re headed. In addition to routine vaccines, be sure to protect yourself against the following diseases, especially if you’re traveling to Africa, Latin America or Asia:
- Hepatitis A: Contaminated food or water can carry hepatitis A, so this vaccine is recommended for travelers headed to rural communities or unsanitary places.
- Typhoid: This disease affects over 12 million people per year. It’s also transmitted through contaminated food or water, so protect yourself with a typhoid vaccine.
- Yellow fever: South America and Africa are the most likely places to contract yellow fever, which is spread through mosquito bites. Fortunately, vaccines are available, which provide up to 10 years of protection.
- Malaria: This disease is also transmitted through mosquito bites. While there’s no malaria vaccine, you can ask your doctor for prescription medication to protect you during your trip.
Less Common Travel Vaccines
While not recommended for all travelers or destinations, you should ask your doctor if you need any additional travel vaccines to protect you on your trip. These may include:
- Cholera: The CDC recommends a cholera vaccine for adults traveling to places with active cholera transmission, including India, Bangladesh, Yemen, Haiti and several African countries.
- Hepatitis B: You may need a hepatitis B vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a piercing or tattoo, or have medical procedures performed during your travels.
- Rabies: Get a rabies vaccine if you expect to have an elevated risk for animal bites on your trip. Such groups include campers and people working with animals.
- Meningitis: A meningitis vaccination is recommended if you’re planning to visit sub-Saharan Africa (known as the “meningitis belt”) between December and June when the disease is most common.
Check the CDC
The CDC keeps travelers up-to-date with current travel health notices, as well as travel vaccination recommendations by region. Check these resources before going on your trip to ensure you get the right travel vaccinations to safeguard your health.
The weather is warming up, and that means it’s time to lounge on the beach or by the pool! Before you do, you might want to snag a great deal on a new swimsuit that accentuates your body in all the right ways. This means trying on new swimwear to find the perfect look.
Swimsuit shopping might have you wondering – “Can I get an STD from trying on swimsuits?” Not all sexually transmitted diseases can be spread to a new host this way – after all, the bacteria and viruses that cause many types of STDs don’t survive for long outside the human body and require direct contact to transfer from person to person.
However, some STDs and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are caused by protozoa, lice, bacteria and viruses that can survive on new swimsuits. This allows infections to transmit passively from one host to another.
It’s a scary thought, but you can protect yourself by learning more about STDs and swimsuits.
Examples of STIs Sometimes Found on Swimsuits
The following STIs can spread passively by infecting swimsuit bottoms:
- Trichomoniasis , or trich, is caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis protozoan parasite, which can live outside the body for several hours.
- Pubic lice , or crabs, can spread if an infected person shares towels, bed sheets or swimsuits.
- Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that spreads through direct contact and indirect contact with clothing an infected person has worn.
- Bacterial vaginosis , or BV, is an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina. BV loves synthetic swimsuit fibers and can be difficult to wash out.
- Urinary tract infections are caused when E. coli or other bacteria from the anal region enter the urethra.
While uncommon, it’s also possible to transmit more serious STDs, including Hepatitis A, B and C, Chlamydia, HPV and even HIV in extremely rare cases.
Prevent STD Infection While Trying on Swimsuits
Protect yourself in the dressing room and once you get home by following these tips:
- Don’t trust the hygienic liner – keep your underwear on while trying new swimsuits!
- Wash your hands after trying on swimsuits.
- After making your purchase, wash the swimsuit before wearing it to the pool.
- Keep whatever you’ve got to yourself – don’t return used swimwear.
STD Testing in Atlanta, GA
The truth is there’s a slight chance of contracting an STD while trying on swimsuits, but only if you fail to follow the appropriate precautions. Just remember, this is merely one example of how STDs can be transmitted without having sex.
If you or your partner is concerned you may have an STD, visit Perimeter Clinic for help. We offer STD testing in a clean, confidential setting. The entire process takes just 15 to 20 minutes, and most results are available within one to two days. To make an appointment and protect your health, please contact Perimeter Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia at 678-999-8263 today.
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