Unless you’ve been in a coma, you know that the film Angels & Demons was just released. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m sure I’ll be waiting in line soon along with millions of other DaVinci Code fans. As the Travelogue Blogger, I view all events through the prism of travel medicine and safety. (See my Star Trek posting for an example of this creative process.) Could Angels & Demons contain any hidden warnings or messages for international travelers? Let’s take a closer look.
Angels are from heaven while demons are from the other side. These creatures have been on earth for a long time, each searching out souls for different reasons. Indeed, some of them haven’t been back home for thousands of years. One day, they may desire to return home to visit friends and relatives. Hmm. My Travel Medicine antennae are starting to vibrate.
Many immigrants in America, although not supernatural creatures, also want to return to their countries of origin to visit family or for business reasons. Depending upon their destinations, these travelers face increased risks of contracting diseases abroad, and many of them don’t even know it. In fact, travel experts believe that travelers who are visiting friends and relatives (Called VFR travelers) are at higher risk than other travelers. These folks, who have been in the United States for years, may not be aware that they have lost immunity to local diseases in their native countries. For this reason, many do not consult with a travel doctor before departure. Upon arrival, they have not received travel vaccinations or received other important medications and travel safety advice. Additionally, some VFRs do not take recommended prophylactic medicines as prescribed, because they don’t sense risk when they are abroad with their own families. For these reasons, VFRs have much higher rates of malaria and typhoid fever when they return home to America. Surely, there are more desirable souvenirs to bring back home than these diseases.
So, if you are a VFR, be an angel and see a travel doctor first. Protect yourself against viruses, bacteria and the other demons that may be lurking in your destinations.