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An Ounce Of Prevention

Vaccinations can mean the difference between manageable - and miserable.

The sights. The sounds. The flavors. International travel offers entrepreneurs more than just new opportunities in exotic business markets--it offers a doorway to the entire world.

Unfortunately, there are also risks inherent to foreign travel--diseases, for example--that can abruptly put a halt to any business dealings. The easiest way to make sure you'll stay healthy while you're away, say experts and physicians, is by planning ahead before you leave.

"It never hurts to check in with a travel clinic as soon as you know you're going somewhere," says Dr. Stephen Blythe, a physician in Melbourne, Florida, who specializes in international travel medicine. Blythe recommends getting vaccinations about six weeks before traveling internationally; most vaccinations take 10 to 14 days to be effective.

Because the type of vaccination you'll need will depend on your destination, length of stay, living conditions and exposure to insects, you need to research your destination(s) before leaving. There are many helpful resources to consult:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site (http://www.cdc.gov). Go to the "Travelers' Health" section, where the world has been divided into 16 regions, to review the CDC's geographic health recommendations.
  • CDC Fax Information Service. Call (888) CDC-FAXX to select documents you want faxed to you.
  • Independently run travel clinics. There are travel clinics nationwide that can provide you with information and vaccinations. The Web sites for the International Society of Travel Medicine (http://www.istm.org) and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (http://www.astmh.org) list some of these clinics by state. Many clinics can also be found on college campuses and through state health departments.
  • Physician-posted Web sites. At Travel Health Information Service (http://www.travelhealth.com), Blythe has compiled data so you can "get everything you need for your trip--online--except the shots." The Travel Medicine Inc. site (http://www.travmed.com) offers products and information for safe travel worldwide.
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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: An Ounce Of Prevention.

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