HIV+? Get out and enjoy the weather!

The CDC's "Yellow Book" provides health related travel information. CDC graphic.

by Mary Turner
HIV/AIDS Health Columnist

Sunshine and warmer weather makes most of us want to get out of the house and move around. Being cooped up at home can take a toll on our psyches and make us feel bummed out.

People living with HIV infections, and/or the people who love them, may feel some trepidation about traveling too far from home, especially if they have had some complications. Being HIV+ doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t travel. It does mean, however, that you might need to take a few more precautions and prepare before you go.

Prior to taking any kind of major trip, especially if you will be traveling abroad, talk to your healthcare provider about where you plan to go, what you would like to do there and how long you will stay. Together, you can review your overall health and discuss any specific precautions you should take.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publishes a “Yellow Book” which provides health related information for people who are planning international travel. This guide can be especially helpful for those who have compromised immune systems. You may wish to review it and then discuss it with your doctor.

If you will be traveling to a region (domestic or foreign) where there is a high prevalence of insect-borne or tick-borne diseases, pack enough insect repellent to use generously during your stay. The repellent should contain at least 30 percent DEET.

Wear lightweight long pants and long sleeve shirts. Wearing socks up over your pants won’t make you a fashion icon, but it will help prevent ticks and other critters from crawling up your legs and biting. It will also help you see if there are ticks or insects on your pants. Check yourself at least once daily for ticks or obvious bites.

Consider taking a special friend along with you and you can check each other more than once a day. Stick to your special diet if you are on one. If you don’t trust the water or sanitation system, drink bottled water and other drinks. Choose foods and drinks that are hot and freshly prepared. Avoid undercooked or raw foods that may harbor bacteria. Natural fertilizer may also contain organisms that can harm anyone with a weakened immune system.

Wear shoes, sit on a towel, etc., to avoid coming into contact with such stuff if you are sitting on the beach or walking through grass. Put down a blanket if you plan to do other stuff on the ground. Basically, use the same precautions that you should be using if you were still at home.

Great weather makes us want to go outside and have fun, and for our mental well-being, we should go out every chance we get. At the end of the day, though, we want to be well enough to go out or travel multiple times. So, be well, have fun and post pictures for us.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – April 15, 2017 @ 7:45 a.m.