Monday, January 25, 2010

CDC Guidance for Relief Works and Others Traveling to Haiti

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have posted new information for relief workers and others traveling to Haiti as part of the relief and recovery efforts.

Before leaving for Haiti, the CDC recommends vaccination for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Hepatitis B. If you are not sure about your vaccination status, it is best to check with your primary care physician before traveling.

In addition, the CDC website states that "there will be almost no infrastructure support available for Haiti for the immediate future. Relief workers, volunteers, and other travelers will need to be self-sufficient." Pack the following supplies:
  • Food and water sufficient for the length of your stay.
  • Soap and an alcohol-based hand cleaner (containing at least 60% alcohol)
  • Insect protection: insect repellent and a bed net. (For information about natural insect repellents, click here)
  • Medications: antimalarial pills, medications for the treatment of traveler's diarrhea (e.g., loperamide and an antibiotic), personal prescriptions (including extras), any preferred over-the-counter medications, and copies of all your prescriptions.
  • An extra set of prescription eyeglasses and/or contacts.
  • Water purification tablets (iodine or chlorine), bleach, or a water purifier.
  • Persons with pre-existing health conditions should consider wearing an alert-bracelet and make sure this information is on a contact card in their wallet or travel documents. A contact card should include the following information:
    • Name and contact information of U.S. family member or close contact.
    • Name and contact information of U.S. healthcare provider.
    • Pre-existing health conditions and treatment.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: safety glasses or goggles, work boots, leather gloves for physical labor, rubber gloves for handling blood or body fluids, surgical masks, hard hat, ear plugs, N-95 respirators for those who are fit-tested.
  • Due to severe damage to health facilities and shortages of medical supplies, carry a first aid kit for your own protection. Minimum suggested contents:
    • Bandages (roller, adhesive, triangular)
    • Sterile gauze pads
    • Disposable gloves
    • Scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Cold compress
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Hydrocortisone ointment
    • Commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by a local health-care provider. These items will require a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery. Pack these items in checked baggage, since they may be considered sharp objects and confiscated by airport or airline security if packed in carry-on bags.
    • (For information about essential oils first aid travel kits, click here)
For more information about how to protect yourself in Haiti, including information about how to protect yourself from injury, stress, and infection, read the full-length article on the CDC website:

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