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Old 03-27-2007, 05:09 PM
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Default Kiteboarding Travel Precautions





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Old 03-27-2007, 05:16 PM
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There is an interesting story behind this article. I had extensively researched and prepared another travel piece the concept of which was approved a while back. Following review it was decided that it lacked sufficient focus on safety, after all the column is "Safety Meeting." True enough. So, I went into rewrite with very little time to spare.

I researched, prepared the above article in about two hours the day I was leaving town. I emailed it from the airport on the way to Colorado for some mountain time. I was visiting with a doctor who didn't see much particularly out there about it however his specialty is radiology. That was comforting. As a travel physician, I am an OK engineer which is to say travel medicine is outside my area of expertise. Despite that the information contained in the article was taken from refutable publications, the CDC and the like.

Take it as given that when it comes to travel medicine you need to consult with your own physician although a lot of good ideas for consideration are given in the article.


The travel article with a lot of good ideas of avoiding travel problems in general that was originally submitted appears at:
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=1018


A version of the article carried by SBC before final editing appears below with active links:


Kiteboarding & Travel Medicine

The is a whole world of wind and Kiteboarding adventure out there just waiting to be explored and savored. The goal is to grab all the stoke in your travels and return with great memories fired up to head out on another voyage. NOT to deal with medical treatment and rehab for injury and/or disease picked up along the way. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) based in the USA reports 3,000,000 to 6,000,000 of the approximate 10,000,000 Americans who travel out of the USA, become ill as a result of their travels. That is a lot of diarrhea among other disorders, some quite serious such as malaria, hepatitis and HIV. Some of the risks are considered below and were adapted from (1):

Food and Water Precautions


90% of travelers' diarrhea stems from food- and water-borne sources, many cases can be prevented by taking adequate precautions. Be careful what you eat and drink including tap water in many locales and wash your hands frequently. Not all cooked food is safe as it may not be fresh, particularly in buffets. Only accept bottled water with a sealed lid. Use bottled water to brush your teeth and don’t use ice made from tap water. Avoid raw food such as salads, uncooked vegetables, unpasteurized milk and milk products, such as cheese. Eat food that has been cooked and is still hot, and fruit that you have peeled. Don't eat undercooked or raw meat, fish or shellfish. Don't consume food or drinks from street vendors. Be wary of food on your homebound flight. Some suggest carrying Imodium and request an antibiotic prescription before they leave their home country to treat diarrhea.
Years ago the author was on a diving/drilling expedition seeking Columbus’ vessel the Santa Maria presumed to be entombed within a coral reef off the north coast of Haiti. Everyone succumbed to particularly nasty travelers’ diarrhea, including our expedition leader. Over-the-counter morphium based medication combined with sleep depravation, dehydration and an advanced dose of the “Christophes, the local nickname for diarrhea” had him hallucinating a detailed interview with Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Sadly, despite bringing back lots of interesting conversation, our man failed to remember details about where the Santa Maria lay.


Hepatitis A

Before leaving for any destination potentially excluding, the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan or Australia, some recommend that travelers be immunized against Hepatitis A, which is typically spread through fecal contaminated food and water. (1) It can also be contracted by close contact with someone who is already infected. Twinrix is a popular Hepatitis vaccine which is recommended to be administered at least 6 months on a sequential injection schedule prior to travel. More about vaccinations below.


Yellow Fever Card

Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by the yellow fever virus spread by the bite of infected mosquitos in parts of Africa and South America. It can result in a variety illnesses and can lead to death. Vaccination is required to enter certain countries. After receiving the vaccine, you should receive an International Certificate of Vaccination (Yellow Card) that has been validated by the vaccination center. This Certificate becomes valid 10 days after vaccination and lasts for 10 years. Consult your health department or visit CDC’s travel information website for more information on which countries this is required for.


Malaria

Malaria has been a threat to mankind for millennia and was identified as far back as 1600 B.C.. Although virtually eliminated in temperate parts of the world, malaria is still a threat in subtropical and tropical areas of Africa, Asia, Central and South America. (2). Developing drug and pesticide resistance have contributed to the resurgence of malaria in these areas. Malaria is transmitted to humans by the anopheles mosquito which through its bite introduces a parasitic protozoa that manifests the disease. Malaria has reportedly claimed more lives than all wars and other diseases combined through time.

Some malaria vaccines are reportedly NO LONGER effective against some resistant protozoa strains. The emergence of drug resistant protozoa and increased travel to exotic locales (like quite a few Kiteboarding destinations), have put travelers at greater risk. This risk can be reduced by working to avoid insect bites through bed netting, proper clothing (On the beach? Whoops!) and applying DEET insect repellents. If pregnant, avoid travel to malaria prone areas. (4) (5) Avoiding swampy and other areas with abundant mosquitoes while Kiteboarding makes good sense.


Contact with Polluted Water (Kiteboarders take note!)

Don't swim in stagnant or polluted water or after a heavy rainfall. Riding near stream and river mouths or in coastal areas in some regions may carry health hazards. Be particularly cautious if the stream discharging to the ocean is often dry but is flowing due to recent rainfall. Shower before and after, and wash cuts and scrapes with clean water, soap and apply antibiotics and sterile dressings.


Vaccinations In General

The CDC has an excellent Internet reference site that explores travel medicine and precautions in detail. (3)
Including: What You Need to Know About Vaccinations and Travel: A Checklist
If you haven't looked up the CDC health information for destinations, do so now.


First Aid Kit

Bring proper first aid kit along to deal with cuts, scrapes, routine jellyfish stings, diarrhea, pain relief and the like. Things to consider packing include but are not limited to personal prescription medication more than sufficient for the entire trip, Benadryl, aspirin/analgesics, antibiotics, alcohol, sterile dressings, etc.. The more remote and exotic your destination the more complete and exotic your first aid kit should be. Don’t count upon being readily able to buy this stuff in many wind destinations.

Medical Insurance

Check your medical coverage. Most private insurers and Medicare don't cover hospital or medical costs outside the United States or pay for emergency medical evacuation. Consider purchasing travel insurance for this that DOESN’T have an extreme sports or Kiteboarding exclusion. Such insurance often doesn’t cost that much but can be a God sent in an emergency.


Some examples

It would be good to look over some travel information produced by the CDC (3) to put travel precautions for some destinations in perspective, like:
The Caribbean … http://www.cdc.gov/travel/caribean.htm
Mexico and Central America … http://www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm
Northern part of South America (Brazil) … http://www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm

Australia and the South Pacific … http://www.cdc.gov/travel/austspac.htm


Further reading

For more information there is a general travel medicine that covers 21 useful categories. (5) in addition to the CDC o the other references cited throughout this article. Various countries also have Department of Health information on related matters.

The Yellow Book Health Information for International Travel, 2005-2006 prepared by the CDC provides a lot of this information in a portable book format, more at: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/yb/

NOTE: This article has been prepared for general informational purposes only. Evaluate potential travel risks and appropriate preventative measures with qualified medical experts before travel to risk areas.

(1) http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002363.html
(2) http://www.aafp.org/afp/990501ap/2523.html
(3) http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm
(4) http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/DS/00475.html
(5) http://www.travmed.com./



Kiteboarding Travel Safety

Kiteboarders would be well advised to consider the following precautions and other appropriate factors when riding abroad:

1. Research probable weather, wind, wave and temperature conditions at the lauches you will be visiting. Make sure you have appropriate gear (kite size, exposure clothing, etc. for actual conditions).
2. Become acquainted with local restrictions, guidelines and other advise through kitebeaches.com, local associations (consider joining), shops and schools. Visitors should not threaten local access!
3. When you first arrive speak to locals at the launch about conditions and other considerations before rigging up and going out. LISTEN to what they have to say. Don’t be like that guy that visited Oz sometime back, who ignored repeated warnings from locals about extreme gusty conditions for a couple of days until he was lofted into the second story wall of a building, ouch! If there are no locals to ask, think carefully about riding in the first place.
4. Be conservative in kite selection, weather and riding area particularly when you first arrive. Travel fatigue can sneak up on you. Use appropriate safety gear.
5. If you are traveling alone, make sure someone knows where you are, when you expect to be back and whom to contact if you fail to show on time. At the same time, NEVER KITEBOARD ALONE particularly out of the country.
6. Carry waterproof ID and proof of insurance whenever you ride. Receipt of complete rapid medical care may rely upon this.
7. Just like back home, continuously stay aware of your surroundings and changes in the weather. If things appear to deteriorate, don’t wait, depower early and fully secure your kite.
8. Hydrate regularly with bottle water and wear appropriate sunblock.
9. Avoid excessive partying combined with Kiteboarding, worse aggravated by travel fatigue. Accidents will happen, this practice only pumps the odds up more.
10. Some launch areas warrant securing chaseboats for emergency pickup service. If this is needed and available ARRANGE for it. Remember something about the islands, once you leave the island and are drifting away with the wind and current … there you are.

Be an informed traveler. Good winds and bring home some great stories!
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Last edited by RickI; 06-25-2008 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:28 PM
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Some more advice on top that offered above regarding vaccinations, get them early. Just got Hepatitis A and B shots along with a tetanus booster. Wow, talk about losing a couple of days. Ended up in a state similar to a strange hang over with an ongoing state of fuzziness. For a couple of nights interesting fever and chills, heavily bundled up in a hot room and still cold? Anyway, it doesn't last forever nor does everyone go through the fever, chills thing. Still it is a good idea to go through this well in advance of your trip. Happy travels.
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