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Travel Agents

 March 22, 2001
ASTA, Pharmacia Launch Major Consumer Travel Health Education Program

 The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Pharmacia Corp., a leading international health care company, today launched a major consumer travel health education campaign aimed at providing travelers with information on how to cope with common health concerns while traveling. The educational campaign will deal with health issues such as motion sickness, arthritis, allergies, diarrhea and overactive bladder.

The year-long program was kicked off today with the unveiling of a new travel health brochure. The campaign will feature informational materials for consumers and travel professionals. The brochure will encourage travelers to seek medical advice from a qualified physician and to seek advice about special services and special needs from a professional ASTA travel agent.

As part of the educational program, ASTA and Pharmacia will conduct a consumer survey on the subject of travel health, asking travelers about common health concerns and how they stay healthy while on the road.

"Our goal is to get people out enjoying life and seeing the world. We're targeting the mature market with this travel health educational campaign with this message: Don't stay home because of common health concerns. See your doctor, then see your travel agent," said Richard M. Copland, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. "We want to do everything in our power to ensure that folks who do travel have the best possible experience.

"Common ailments shouldn't deter a person from taking his or her dream vacation. With a little bit of information, travelers can be well-equipped to deal with any common health problems," said Copland. "By consulting with their doctor and their travel agent, the average traveler should be well-prepared to prevent or deal with any inconveniences that occur on the road."

"As a leading global healthcare company, Pharmacia Corporation has had the benefit of speaking with physicians and patients over the years regarding a number of medical conditions that can affect travel-related activities," said Rose Talarico, associate director, public relations, Pharmacia Corporation. "Chronic medical conditions, such as overactive bladder and arthritis, can often be managed through consultation with a doctor about available treatment options. By working with ASTA and its extensive network of member travel agencies, this travel health campaign will encourage people of all ages to not miss the enjoyment of a single travel experience due to a treatable medical condition."

The ASTA/Pharmacia travel health brochure will be distributed to travel agents through ASTA trade shows and insertion in Dateline ASTA. ASTA members will be able to order copies of the brochure to distribute to their clients. The brochure will also be available on ASTAnet and Pharmacia representatives will be attending upcoming ASTA events to impart health information to ASTA agent members.

Common health tips offered by ASTA include:

Before you leave on an extended trip, visit your doctor for any advice or prescriptions you may need. Be sure to pack all medication in your hand luggage so it will be available if your bags are lost or stolen. Pack non-prescription medications, such as allergy medicine, that you may need during the flight in your carry-on bag as well. Get any necessary shots or medications you may need and start any new medication well in advance of your departure. Carry an extra supply of medication, labeled and in the original container, with a copy of each prescription. Take along a small first-aid kit. Depending on your destination, bring medication for upset stomach, pain or motion sickness. Other useful items include nasal spray, sunscreen and insect repellent. The ASTA/Pharmacia brochure has a suggest list of first aid items.

The Center for Disease Control has information on health situations around the world. Visit www.cdc.gov or phone 404-639-3311.

Bring snacks and plenty of bottled water. Dehydration is one of the most common travel problems. On a long flight, be sure to stretch and get up and walk around. Exercising on a long flight will help alleviate such common discomforts as backaches, swollen legs and feet and general fatigue. To avoid jet lag, try going to bed a little earlier a few days before you leave and get as much sleep as you can during your flight. Many jet lag side-effects are the result of dehydration, so avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages and drink plenty of water during your flight.