Volume 30 Number 1 ISSN:1059-6518

By Frank Hubbell, DO

FACT: 1.1 billion people cross international borders every year!

How many of these international travelers know what is waiting for them at the end of the runway or on the other side of the border? At home you are most likely safe. You have potable drinking water, safe food to eat, reliable power, screens on your windows and doors to protect you from marauding insects, and have excellent, available, immediate health care when needed. To put it simply, most of us live in a bubble. The question is, are you sure that you are prepared for the times when you leave the safety of your bubble?

This is the material that we use in our Travel Clinic to help educate and prepare people for international travel. We offer it here for your review and, if necessary, take with you to a consult for travel medicine.           


Make Out a Trip Itinerary:

When are you going and for how long?



Where are you going?



What are you planning on doing while there?

Travel plans?

How are you planning on getting around?

Previous International Travel History:

When did you go?

Where did you go and for how long?

Past Medical and Surgical History:


Medications – name and dosage

Immune Status – any history of autoimmune diseases, HIV, DM

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ISSN 1059-6518



By Frank Hubbell, DO

Illustrations by T.B.R. Walsh


It is said that there are so many spiders in the world that you are never more that 10 feet away from one. With over 50,000 species of spiders this is probably true. However, there only a few that can harm humans. Even though there are only a few that are dangerous to humans, most people still have a disproportionate fear of itsy, bitsy, spiders.

Taxonomic rank of spiders:

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthopoda

Subphylum – Chelicerata

Class – Arachnida

Order – Araneae

Family – there are 109 families of spiders

Species – there are 50,000 species of spiders

Note that spiders are members of the phylum Arthopoda, in the class Arachnida not Insecta. SPIDERS ARE NOT INSECTS.

There are 11 orders of the class Arachnida:

Listed below are the orders of spiders with examples of each order:

Acari – ticks and mites

Amblypygi – whip scorpions

Araneae – spiders

Opiliones – harvestmen or daddy longlegs

Palpigradi – tiny whip scorpions

Pseudoscorpions – tiny spiders with scorpion like with pincers

Ricinulei – hooded tickspiders

Schizomida – small spiders that live in the upper layers of soil

Scorpions – scorpions

Solifugae – camel, wind, or sun spiders

Thelyphonida – vinegarrons or large whip scorpions

This article will focus primarily on the order Araneae, spiders, and, in particular, the ones that are considered dangerous to humans.

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The Risks of International Travel

Statistically speaking, the most common cause of death for the international traveler while abroad is motor vehicle accidents, and second, is death from a pre-existing condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. However, there are a number of other medical issues that can disrupt or ultimately ruin an international trip. With regard to the two top problems: drive carefully and defensively. If you are not comfortable behind the wheel, take other methods of transport or hire a driver. While these measures cannot insure accident avoidance, they can minimize the risk. Before traveling to a region where medical care may be difficult to obtain, have a thorough physical and make sure you are carrying a sufficient amount of any medications that you may be taking. Also remember that some conditions may not be detectable before you leave, so having good international insurance that will provide for treatment at the closest major medical facility and evacuation back to your home country is a wise decision.

September/October 2011 ISSN 1059-6518

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July/August 2011  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 24 Number 4

Disclaimer: The content of the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter is not a substitute for Read more