Is Your Volunteer Team Fit To Travel?
Increase your overall volunteer team safety by identifying potential health “red flags” within each individual traveler. Getting sick overseas can be a very unfortunate turn of events for the individual, the team, and your volunteer organization. To prevent such circumstances we recommend that each volunteer traveler gets the OK from their primary physician prior to traveling. Ensuring that your entire volunteer team is fit to travel is just one of the ways you can reduce the risk of accidents or illnesses on a volunteer trip. As you prepare your volunteer team for departure, use this list of questions to help determine if a volunteer is fit to travel.
1. Are you up to date with your vaccinations?
Is the volunteer traveler up to date on their standard vaccines? This is a good time for everyone on your volunteer team to double check their medical records. Furthermore, depending on the volunteer destination, a series of vaccinations may be recommended or required. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention is a great resource for finding a list of country-specific vaccines. Volunteers should take care of this at least 6 weeks prior to departure.
2. Do you have a chronic illness?
If anyone on your volunteer team has a chronic illness, make sure it is documented within your organization. Advise the individual volunteer to check with their doctor and get the OK to travel long distances. Here are some examples of chronic illnesses:
- Food allergies
- Heart trouble
- Breathing difficulties
- Immune problems
- Intestinal conditions
3. Do you require any prescription medications?
Your volunteer organization should keep a list of anyone on the volunteer team that requires prescription medications. We advise that any individual volunteer with a prescription travel with a copy of their prescription and a letter from their doctor stating that the medicine is for personal use. In the case of luggage delay or theft, all prescription medicines should be kept in the individual’s carry on bag.