Visitors to Hawaii
Hawaii is a paradise known for the sun, the sea, and all things natural. To make sure your stay goes well, be respectful of the power of these natural forces to avoid injury and illness.
- In Hawaii, ocean safety is very important. If advised not to swim — don't. Heed the international signage at local beaches alerting you to rough sea conditions, rip currents, jellyfish and high surf.
- When hiking the wilderness, be sure to check in with park rangers first. It's not uncommon to get lost in an unfamiliar environment. And make sure to wear appropriate footwear at all times.
- A word of caution about the sunshine: it is much stronger than many visitors are accustomed to on the mainland. Use sunscreen and reapply liberally all day long. Protect children with sunblock containing zinc oxide or the latest in "sun suits" that block harmful rays. Hats and sunglasses are also a must.
Hawaii Residents Planning to Travel Overseas
Planning a trip overseas? Travelers need to be aware of the health risks unique to their destination. Some countries have problems maintaining a sanitary water supply. Other countries have diseases that Americans may not normally be exposed to. You should plan ahead before international travel to prevent health problems before they occur, so you can have a fun and safe trip.
Here are some steps you can take to prepare for your trip:
- Educate yourself about the health risks in the country you are visiting. What are common diseases? How can you protect yourself from insect bites? Your travel medicine doctor will have educational material that will prepare you for your trip and your destination.
- Immunize yourself to those diseases found in that country. Your travel medicine doctor will have access to all the current diseases and outbreaks in various areas of the world and will advise you accordingly. Plan to seek advice four to six weeks before you depart on your trip to allow adequate time for immunization. This immunization process may take a few weeks, so it is important to allow your body time to adjust before you travel.
- Have fun while visiting your destination, but be cautious. Unlike the U.S., many foreign governments do not regulate the safety of boats, equipment and vehicles.
In addition, travelers are advised to check with their Personal Care Physician (PCP) if they have health problems prior to traveling. It is recommended that travelers carry a note stating any significant medical condition, list of medications currently being taken, any allergies, and the name and phone number of an emergency contact person and their treating physician. Also, carry sufficient quantities of your prescription medication and a first aid kit. The first aid kit should include over-the-counter medication such as Aspirin or Tylenol, sun block, antihistamine, antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids, anti-diarrhea and calamine lotion.
Public health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have set up guidelines and health information for the international traveler and can provide general health information about your destination.