7 Ways Your Vacation Can Make You Sick

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Janna Elfenbein on Aug 6, 2009 at 10:35AM

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7 Ways Your Vacation Can Make You Sick

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The Not-So-Great Outdoors

Ah, summer. Vacation time. Sand and sea. Stomach problems. Bed bugs. Mosquitoes. Yuck. Here are the top 7 vacation hazards and how to protect yourself on your next trip.

Mosquitoes bite, some bringing West Nile virus, but bug sprays aren’t so wonderful either. A new study suggests that the common bug spray ingredient DEET may work as a neurotoxin, interfering with the brain’s neurotransmitters. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, but lathering it on like sunscreen can be dangerous.

Protect yourself: Fight bites without chemicals by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants on hikes. Consider non-DEET bug sprays, especially for children. If you use a DEET-based repellent, follow the directions carefully. A common mistake is re-applying it. One application is enough. Planning to be outside for four hours or less? A low DEET concentration of 15 percent will work fine. Back home for the night? Take a shower.

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