Saint Alphonsus Health System

Travelers Safety


The majority of deaths among travelers are not disease-related! The most common cause of death among travelers is motor vehicle accidents, followed closely by drowning. Alcohol use is often involved.

  • Think twice before riding small motorized vehicles such as scooters, etc., and always use a helmet.
  • Use seat and shoulder belts when possible.
  • Avoid over-crowded public vehicles.
  • Avoid rural travel by road after dark.
  • Be aware of pedestrian safety hazards.
  • Observe water safety precautions while swimming, question locals about wave action.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Always designate a non-drinking driver.
  • Be aware of medical facilities in area you are traveling.


Fire injuries are also a significant problem. When you can, seek accommodations with smoke detectors and sprinkler systems. Always look for an escape route from rooms where you are staying.

Pottery and Handicrafts

Some countries have no restriction on the use of lead and other harmful substances in ceramic glazes. Foods or beverages in these ceramic containers may contain toxic metals. Long-term, regular use of these containers for food or beverages may be harmful.

Countries without restrictions include: Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hong Kong, India, North Korea, and China.

Travelers to Haiti are advised not to purchase goat backskin handicrafts due to possible contamination with the bacteria which causes Anthrax.

Heat Illness

Heat, like altitude, can be dangerous if your body has not acclimatized to it. Excess heat can cause a spectrum of illness from mild to life-threatening.

Prevention of Heat Illness
  • Avoidance of excessive heat exposure and maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance can prevent heat disorders.
  • Avoid heavy exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Limit exercise to 30-90 minutes per day during the first week.
  • Rest frequently
  • Wet skin with water via spray bottle or a sponge
  • Wear lightweight, loose and light-colored clothing and a hat.
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water, especially if exercising.
  • Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids, drink throughout the day.
  • Use sunscreen, preferably with spf of 30 or greater.