The blooming of May flowers is a reminder that summer is quickly approaching. Do you know what the greatest thing about summer is? No, not lounging around poolside getting caught up on celebrity gossip. Barbeques are great, but flipping burgers and dogs while the familiar charcoal flavor wafts throughout the neighborhood is not what first comes to mind.
Certainly, the most anticipated summer activity is vacationing. I'm not talking about cramming the entire family in the minivan and driving thousands of miles to see America... I am referring to the summer vacations that take you on a mental and physical holiday from your day-to-day routine - the international trips to exotic, adventurous or bustling destinations, complete with unique social experiences, cultural treasures or native traditions.
Of course, traveling to some of these destinations, whether near or far from the US, often require important precautions to minimize health risks. Sickness resulting from infection with hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B, for instance, may lead to a mild or severe liver disease.
While all children in the US today are given vaccines to prevent both hepatitis A and hepatitis B, most adults have not been protected. And when it comes to traveling, these diseases are more prevalent in many vacation spots that are popular with US travelers. Exposure to hepatitis A or hepatitis B can occur through close, personal contact with an infected person, or through eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
In an effort to help would-be travelers know if the country they are planning to visit carries an increased risk of exposure to hepatitis A or hepatitis B, GSK has just launched an online and mobile resource to Help Prevent Hepatitis.
The initiative includes a text-messaging component.* Texting "COUNTRY" to 85765 will trigger a message that asks for a specific name of a country. Texters will then receive information about whether being in that country could put them at increased risk for a hepatitis infection. Also, by texting a zip code, respondents will be able to get information about healthcare providers in their area to talk to for more information about getting vaccinated.
So, while you're daydreaming about your upcoming summer trip and putting together your vacation checklist, don't forget to add how to Help Prevent Hepatitis to your list of travel to-do's.
*Message and data rates may apply.