It is extremely important that you complete the medical information in the Go Abroad portal. All medical information is confidential. However, this information will help us be prepared to assist you throughout your stay in Cortona and especially in case of emergency. Having a thorough physical before traveling is strongly suggested.

In Italy, if you experience any medical problems, please do not keep them to yourself. As soon as possible, contact the Director of the program or one of the program administrators.

Apart from emergencies, here are some tips to help you get medically ready to go travel abroad. It takes only a little common sense and vigilance--plus a few tricks--to stay healthy and happy even when roaming the world. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans travel to other countries and, for the most part, enjoy themselves illness free.

Vaccinations

Generally, travel directly from the United States to European countries does not require additional vaccinations; however, several other vaccines may be recommended. Please check with your health professional for advice. At the University of Georgia, the University Health Center Allergy/Travel Clinic is dedicated to travel needs. All registered UGA students may use the services. The telephone number is (706) 542-5575. Not all doctors will have vaccinations in stock, so plan accordingly.

Immunization is required for travel to certain other countries, especially non- European countries. If you are planning to travel outside of Europe, please find out before you leave for the Studies Abroad Program what kind of medical protection is required for the other countries you plan to visit.

Diarrhea

The most common of all travelers’ ills is probably diarrhea. The most effective prevention for diarrhea is care in drinking and eating. Impure water (including ice) is one of the most common sources of the bacteria which can make the traveler's sojourn in a foreign land miserable for a few days. This risk can be minimized by using soft drinks, or bottled water (acqua minerale) instead of tap water. Food is harder than water to control as a source of bacteria which may cause diarrhea. The risk can be minimized by avoiding all raw food, or by washing and peeling all raw fruit and vegetables.

Diarrhea occurs sometimes, despite all precautions. When it does, there are numerous medications and home remedies that are said to relieve the symptoms but none are perfect. Have your physician suggest a fast acting diarrhea medication that you can take with you in case you need it. Tablets are easier than liquids to carry in a handbag. In Italy, Imodium is sold over-the- counter in most pharmacies.

Constipation is usually a worse problem than diarrhea. Eat whole grains and well washed fruits and vegetables, remembering to drink a lot of bottled water. Bring over-the-counter remedies, such as Metamucil, if you have had problems with this in the past.

Jet Lag / Field Trips

A common problem with modern traveling arises from the physiological effects of long distance non-stop jet flights, particularly from west to east, best known as jet lag. Fatigue, insomnia, anxiety or depression are among the more common symptoms. They arise because the body clock is still set on your departure time while your time of arrival is hours slower or faster, depending on the direction of your flight.

An article in the Western Journal of Medicine suggested these ways to reduce jet lag symptoms:

  • Use food and drink (alcohol) sparingly three days after arrival
  • Arrange your schedule to shorten the day rather than the night
  • Keep well hydrated on the flight. Drink at least one glass of water every hour. Avoid heavy meals, carbonated beverages, and alcohol!!!
  • Motion sickness: Bring travel gum if you tend to feel nauseous on bus or car trips as many of the roads we travel on are windy or narrow.

Physicians

If you need a physician while with the program, please contact the Director or a program administrator right away. They will assist you in getting to the appropriate doctor or hospital. Cortona only has emergency service and an ambulance, but a complete care hospital is located in Camucia, approximately five miles away.

Insect bites

Each year some students have allergic reactions to insect bites. During the entire trip, insects can be a problem for some. Window screens are uncommon throughout Italy; therefore, the following items and measures may prevent or reduce the annoyance of insect bites.

  • An insect repellent - Follow the directions carefully. Moisturizing lotions have not been proven to be as effective as specific insect repellents
  • A spray to kill flying insects in living areas
  • An electrical insect repellent dispenser that plugs in (available for purchase in Italy )
  • An insect repellent for use on clothing, bedding, and mosquito netting
  • Calamine lotion, hydrocortisone creams, witch hazel, or a natural deodorant stick (Tom's of Maine) to relieve insect bites or stings

Preventive measures to decrease insect bites include:

  • Avoid wearing colognes or perfumes
  • Avoid contact with all animals. There are no cats or dogs allowed in the studios or classrooms
  • Avoid sitting or lying in fields or grassy areas
  • Do not keep food in your room, as this attracts insects or animals
  • Keep clothes and other items off the floor in the dorms, so the staff can clean the rooms thoroughly
  • Wear protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants) in areas of risk. Outdoor cafes, movies in the park, visits to the lake, and sitting out at night can promote unwanted biting insects.

Symptoms sometimes appear in minutes, but some don't appear for 6 to 12 hours. Often the victim doesn't remember being bitten or stung by an insect. Most of the troublesome symptoms disappear in 2 or 3 days, but scratching may prolong symptoms for several weeks. Treatment helps but it doesn't cure immediately.

Medical Items

Some medical items you might consider taking with you:

  • Any prescription medication you are presently taking, enough to last the whole time you'll be abroad and copies of the prescription plus the phone number and name of the doctor who prescribed it
    There is often a significant hold-up at Italian Customs for any medications, pharmaceuticals, or prescriptions that are shipped to Italy. PLEASE pack all necessary prescriptions for the semester or expect to do without
  • A spare pair of glasses (or a copy of the prescription)
  • Non-narcotic pain reliever such as aspirin (in small amounts since these over the counter drugs are available in Cortona)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Any non-prescription, special medication that you usually take
  • Motion sickness medication! Many of our field trips are on buses that travel windy or narrow roads.
  • Anti-diarrhea or constipation remedies suggested by your physician
  • Any medications must remain in the original dispensing container and be properly labeled. Over-the-counter drugs should have the chemical name and dosage. Prescriptions must include your name, the chemical name, the dosage and the issuing doctor’s name.
  • Carry all medications in your hand/carry on luggage.
  • DO NOT PUT MEDICATION, INHALERS, INSULIN, or ANY MEDICATION YOU WILL NEED ON A CONSTANT BASIS IN CHECKED LUGGAGE. ALWAYS PUT THESE ITEMS IN YOUR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE SO YOU ARE CERTAIN TO ALWAYS HAVE THEM WITH YOU.

On your return home

If you traveled to a developing country, public health authorities recommend that you be screened for any diseases you may have acquired. Regardless of where you have been you should see a doctor if you develop a fever or diarrhea after returning home.