General Travelers Health
Jet lag occurs when an individual’s circadian rhythm is disrupted, often by changing multiple time zones in a relatively short period of time. Identifying symptoms and following a few tips in advance can help you manage your experience and help restore a natural balance more quickly upon arrival in-country.
Symptoms of jet lag include interrupted or disturbed sleep patterns, difficulties with concentration or physical dexterity, or even irregular appetite. To combat jet lag:
- Get enough sleep. Being well rested is the best way to prepare for and combat jet lag.
- Stay hydrated on the flight. Pressurized cabins, low humidity and increased altitude means that dehydration occurs at a faster rate in the air than on the ground. Caffeine and alcohol contribute to dehydration, so limit your intake of these substances in flight.
- Stay active on the flight. Engage in stretches or take periodic breaks to stand up or walk about the cabin (assuming safe to do so). Movement can help improve circulation and combat tiredness.
- Stay current. Know what the time will be in your destination and set your watch ahead of time to help you mentally prepare for the time difference. You may also wish to realign your body’s sleep and eating habits with those of your host country as soon as able upon arrival.
- Employ situational awareness. You may be drowsy for several days following arrival but be sure to stay alert while exploring your new environment.
Please see the CDC resource on Jet Lag to learn more.
Many popular study abroad and tourist destinations coincide with locations possessing significant elevations. High altitudes carry risks such as lack of oxygen and increased UV exposure. Altitude illness can strike suddenly and can pose danger to some travelers’ health. Travelers should be mindful when traveling to locations high above sea level and know how to identify the signs of altitude sickness as well as steps to combat symptoms or mitigate the risk of altitude-induced illness.
Please see the CDC resource on Travel to High Altitudes to learn more.
Some locations are associated with an increased risk of sun, heat, wind or cold exposure. All travelers are advised to research the climate of a location and pack accordingly for both the destination and any intended activities. Keep in mind that winter in the Northern Hemisphere corresponds with summer in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. For more information, please visit the CDC resources on Cold Climates or Hot Climates.
Low latitudes and high altitudes contribute to an increase in sun exposure. Certain medications can make individuals more susceptible and sensitive to sunlight. It is recommended that travelers at increased risk for complications caused by sun exposure or exposure to the elements take precautions such as minimizing exposed skin or using sunscreen which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Please see the CDC resources on Sun Exposure to learn more.
Avoiding Insect Bites
Travelers to hot, humid locations are prime targets for insect bites. In order to reduce the risk of contracting vector-borne diseases, many of which do not have prophylactic medication for prevention, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure. The best steps for prevention include using insect repellent, covering up exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and keeping mosquitoes outside by utilizing window and door screens or mosquito nets when necessary.
Please see the CDC resources on Preventing Mosquito Bites to learn more.
Changes in normal routine including a new environment, diet or cultural norms can all have subtle or even noticeable impacts on an individual’s health. Disorientation due to a new environment can challenge individuals to step outside of their comfort zones and embrace new ways of thinking or doing, but it can also be a source of stress and anxiety.
For individuals needing assistance adjusting to a new environment, it can be good to reconnect with home and talk with loved ones. However, if you feel like you need or would like additional support, please feel free to contact CISI to arrange an appointment(s) with a mental health professional.
Students wishing to schedule a traveler’s health consultation can schedule an appointment with Student Health Services at one of their locations on the Kennesaw or Marietta campuses. There is no office visit fee at these locations.
Due to a worldwide shortage of the Yellow Fever vaccination, travelers needing Yellow Fever vaccination will need to schedule a travel consultation at a Stamaril clinic.
Additional health information:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health - https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/
- CDC Travel Notices - https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
- World Health Organization (WHO) - https://www.who.int/
- International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers (IAMAT) - https://www.iamat.org/