Why Global Rescue?

Global Rescue provides worldwide advisory, field rescue and evacuation services, in both medical and security emergencies. 

  • Field Rescue from point of illness or injury, no matter how remote
  • Evacuation to the home hospital of choice
  • Services provided up to $500,000
  • 24/7 advisory services from medical and security specialists
  • Medical oversight from specialists at Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Paramedics deployed to member's bedside
  • Memberships start at $119

 +1-617-459-4200

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Global Rescue News

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A critical need for medical assistance on Kodiak Island, Alaska: "The follow-up from Global Rescue was exceptional."

  
  
Don Detwiler, Kodiak Alaska, Global Rescue

Don Detwiler in Alaska

Global Rescue member Don Detwiler was hunting deer on Kodiak Island, Alaska, when his blood pressure spiked.  Detwiler immediately suspected he knew what had happened.

“I was taking decongestants and I just knew I had a sinus infection,” he said. “It was pretty bad.  I shouldn’t have been taking decongestants because I have high blood pressure.”

After hunting for only one day, Detwiler decided to take a couple of days off, hoping that his blood pressure would return to normal without medical assistance. Despite two days of rest, his blood pressure would not come down. “I didn’t want to call home to get my wife to call our family doctor because I didn’t want her to know what was going on. She would just worry.” Instead, he called Global Rescue.

The Global Rescue operations team advised him to be seen at a hospital immediately. Detwiler was flown by mail plane to a Kodiak hospital where the Global Rescue medical staff oversaw his treatment. As it turned out, Detwiler’s condition was more serious that he thought. “It took about three weeks before my blood pressure went down to where it should have been,” he noted.

Global Rescue, medical advisory services, Kodiak Alaska, SCI, Don Detwiler

Don Detwiler in Alaska

Global Rescue stayed in touch with Detwiler, constantly checking in on his progress. “The follow-up from Global Rescue was exceptional. I was impressed. There were multiple follow up phone calls.”

Detwiler, a Safari Club International member, does not intend to let this medical experience dampen his hunting plans. He states that he will not go anywhere without Global Rescue at his back. “I fully intend to renew my Global Rescue membership because I’m going to Mozambique in 2015, and I’m going to Turkey as well.” 

Don Detwiler, Global Rescue, Kyrgyzstan

Don Detwiler (right), Dan Soliday (center), and guide Saku (left) in Kyrgyzstan

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Alpinist Ian Welsted thanks Global Rescue after helicopter evacuation in the Himalaya

  
  

Noted alpinist Ian Welsted embarked on his first trip to Nepal in September 2014 to tackle the challenge of climbing the south face of Nuptse. It is “one of the truly legendary big walls of the Himalayan mountains,” Welsted later described it in his Alpinist magazine account.

Ian Welsted, Global Rescue, Nuptse

Ian Welsted climbing snow at 6,000 meters during the pair’s first attempt.

Ian Welsted, Jason Kruk, Global Rescue, Nuptse

Jason Kruk at the team’s high point of 6,500 meters on their second attempt, looking up at the 7,750 meter west summit of Nuptse.

Welsted and climbing partner Jason Kruk had spent six weeks in a base camp at 5,400 meters on the south face of Nuptse. Following an attempt to climb to approximately 6,500 meters on the mountain, the pair realized that they would not be able to succeed in climbing it. They descended, headed to the nearest town, and rested there for a couple of days.  Their plan was to walk to Lukla, two or three days away, on a well-beaten trekking trail. 

It was not to be. On the first day of hiking, as they had descended to about 3,800 meters, Welsted suddenly lost consciousness.  Once he regained consciousness after several minutes, he experienced headache, weakness and nausea.

“Jason phoned Global Rescue,” said Welsted.

The Global Rescue operations team spoke with the guide accompanying the team and immediately arranged a helicopter evacuation to Kathmandu.  Upon landing, Welsted was transported by ambulance to a hospital.

At the Kathmandu hospital, Welsted underwent a battery of tests, including an EEG, a CT scan, and later, an MRI.  Global Rescue operations professionals worked tirelessly to obtain copies of all tests, records and labs for the Global Rescue medical team to scrutinize.

Welsted confirmed that, while he had been taking good care of himself, he had never previously spent such a long period of time at such a high altitude.  Looking back, Welsted believes he passed out due to fatigue, stress, or some combination of the two.

“With Nuptse, you’ve got a base camp of 5,400 meters, which is certainly quite high. To climb at that altitude, you have to acclimate and we went for quite a long time,” he said. “Spending six weeks at 5,400 meters is the longest I’ve been at that high altitude for sure.”

 

Ian Welsted, Jason Kruk, Global Rescue

Jason Kruk getting ready for the day in a lightweight tent at about 6,000 meters with the famous Ama Dablam peeking out from behind.

The Global Rescue team worked closely with Welsted’s doctor until Welsted was ready to be discharged.

“One of the Global Rescue operations staff called me while I was still in the hospital and set everything in motion,” said Welsted. “Our tickets were changed so that I could fly home earlier.  I thought Global Rescue services were great.”

Welsted advised Global Rescue once he had safely returned to Vancouver, offering his sincere gratitude, and noting that he would be renewing his membership.

“Global Rescue covered all of my needs, more than to my expectations,” said Welsted, “I was heli-evacuated quickly and efficiently and then transported to the top hospital in Kathmandu. Upon discharge, Global Rescue took care of changing my return date to Canada, which was very helpful as I was in no great condition to deal with tracking down airline details.

“Without Global Rescue coverage, I would be out of pocket for the helicopter evacuation, which I am told would have cost upward of $5,000. I was on a mountaineering trip which already had a considerable bill attached, so I was very glad to have the Global Rescue coverage.

“I’ve shopped around quite a bit -- for example, the British Mountaineering Council has some kind of rescue insurance -- but Global Rescue seems to be the best way of doing things that I’ve found.”

Welsted, an American Alpine Club member who had previously traveled to Pakistan on three occasions, recalled how he first learned about Global Rescue.

“Steve Swenson, who was president of the American Alpine Club, was the one who introduced the idea of Global Rescue to us, and I joined the AAC to get a discount on the membership,” said Welsted.  “I know that Global Rescue had rescued Steve about two years ago in India. So, for climbers, Global Rescue definitely seems like it works really well.”

Welsted concluded, “I definitely will not go on a similar trip without Global Rescue coverage in the future. After this experience, I will continue to recommend Global Rescue coverage to all of my climbing partners and friends going on mountaineering trips overseas.”

 Ian Welsted, Jason Kruk, Global Rescue

Jason Kruk low on the mountain at approximately 5,500 meters with Ama Dablam behind.

Ian Welsted, Jason Kruk, Global Rescue

Jason Kruk following a steep snow pitch in afternoon cloud buildup at 6,300 meters.

Ian Welsted, Jason Kruk, Global Rescue

Jason Kruk below the unclimbed "Cobweb wall" section of the face, the objective the pair had chosen to attempt.


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A close call for Unbranded

  
  
Unbranded, Global Rescue

In spring of 2013, four graduates from Texas A&M University were beginning the trip of their dreams: riding 3,000 miles from the Mexican border to the Canadian border on horseback, using only wild mustangs.  Global Rescue is pleased to have supported Ben Masters, Thomas Glover, Jonny Fitzsimons, and Ben Thamer throughout their adventure and upcoming documentary, Unbranded.  In anticipation of the documentary’s release in winter 2015, Global Rescue spoke with Phill Baribeau, the director of Unbranded, for a glimpse into the making of the documentary.

Surprisingly, Baribeau had almost no experience with horses when he joined the project. He learned to ride well enough to travel 10 to 12 hours and 20 miles a day, with limited breaks for the horses.  Masters, the leader of the Unbranded team, previously had completed a similar 2,000 mile trip in 2010. “He always wanted to do another trip, something bigger, and do it all with mustangs just because they’re built for mountain travel and they live out here,” said Baribeau. “Ben also wanted to show the public by doing a film how incredible these horses can be if you train them right.”

Baribeau and his filmmaking partner could not bring an entire crew, so they almost exclusively split the filming between themselves and collected more than 450 hours of footage over the journey’s five-month duration.  “We were not filming all day every day, but definitely when it was scenic. At the same time, with horses you never know when something’s going to happen so you have to be ready at all times,” Baribeau said.

Unbranded, Global Rescue

Baribeau learned the readiness lesson the hard way on his “worst day of the trip.” A few days into the journey and feeling overconfident, he was caught off guard.  “We got off our horses to walk down a path, and I was talking to my buddy behind me, another guy filming. I walked right into the back of this horse and didn’t even see it coming. He kicked me in the thigh.  I went down and I thought I broke my femur. I actually considered calling Global Rescue.”

Instead, after realizing that the bone was not broken but was just a bad hematoma, Baribeau took a few weeks off to recover before rejoining the expedition.  However, the pain inflicted by the wild mustang could not ruin Baribeau’s memorable Unbranded experience, which included riding through the Grand Canyon and “across the Colorado River on a suspension bridge, and then Glacier National Park to end the trip.” 

Unbranded, Global Rescue

While wrapping up post-production, Masters will meet with Baribeau and bring along four of the horses from the journey. “We’re definitely going back to this spot below Yellowstone called the Thoroughfare. We’ll probably spend a week back there just camping and fishing. I’m glad he has horses so we can still get out.”  For his part, Baribeau is excited to relive the trip -- without cameras, for a change.

Unbranded, Global Rescue

 Unbranded, Phill Baribeau, Global Rescue

Unbranded director Phill Baribeau

5 Tips for Staying Healthy and Safe during Holiday Travels

  
  
Global Rescue, travel tips, medical evacuation
As many people prepare to travel this holiday season, Global Rescue offers these tips to help reduce the medical and security risks associated with traveling this season, particularly for those traveling abroad.

1. Have the ability to call for help, know how to call for help, and know where you would want to go for help.  Outside of the U.S., dialing “911” does not work. Have a way to call for help: a local cell phone or SAT phone. Consider bringing an extra battery or portable charger for your phone or, if you have a smart phone, buying a battery phone case (such as Mophie) that will extend your phone’s battery life to avoid being caught with no way to communicate in an emergency. Know how to dial that number based on international calling configurations, and what number to call for emergency medical services.

2. Know your health insurance policy and service coverage. Know in advance whether your plan covers medical bills if you are hospitalized while traveling internationally. Do you have medical evacuation coverage for emergency medical transportation, and trip cancellation insurance in case you miss your flight due to a medical emergency?  In any case, be sure to have a backup plan to pay for emergency care if needed in the event that the medical facility you visit will not work with your health insurance provider.

3. Bring your own pharmacy. Travel with basic over-the-counter medications and a small first aid kit, because there is no guarantee that you’ll find a pharmacy around the corner. Pain relievers, medications to control a fever, antacids, allergy medicine, antibiotic ointment, eye drops, decongestants, cold medicine, and yeast infection treatments are just a few items we take for granted that can be obtained easily at drug stores at home. Bring any necessary travel medications with you, such as malaria prophylaxis and traveler’s diarrhea treatment.  Do not assume you will be able to source these medications in other countries.  Any medications purchased abroad may not be subject to the same manufacturing standards and quality control you expect at home. If you take a prescription medication, be sure to bring double the amount that you need in case travel plans are delayed.  

4. Be familiar with health and security concerns relevant to the location.
There are general health advisories, health and security risk assessments and food and water safety precautions specific to different regions. Your travel medical provider should be able to review any individual health concerns specific to you and your medical history and your itinerary.  Be sure you have the necessary information to prevent health and safety risks associated with your particular travel itinerary. Global Rescue members have access to GRID, our online intelligence platform, for detailed destination reports and up-to-the-minute information on global medical and security events.

5. Never travel without a Global Rescue membership. Medical and security emergencies can threaten your life at the worst possible time, when you’re away from home, far from friends, family and support.  Global Rescue medical membership includes medical evacuations from anywhere in the world to your choice of home-country hospital, any time you are more than 160 miles from home and need hospitalization. Global Rescue excels at Field Rescues for medical emergencies requiring hospitalization in the event you are in a remote location and cannot get to a hospital on your own. Membership includes 24/7 medical advice and support from world class physicians at Johns Hopkins Medicine. By upgrading to include security, members protect themselves from non-medical emergencies.  If Global Rescue determines that a member is in danger of imminent grievous bodily harm, we provide security and transport services, up to $100,000, from their location to the member’s home country.  We strongly recommend a security upgrade whenever there is risk of natural disaster, civil unrest, terrorism, or war.

 

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Mother and son, both ill in India while traveling, turn to Global Rescue

  
  
Global Rescue, Victoria Lautman, medical advisory services

Every year, journalist Victoria Lautman travels to India for a few months.  During one trip, accompanied by her 19-year-old son, Victoria and her son both became ill with separate and pressing illnesses that required support from Global Rescue. 

“It was my son’s first time to India. He had been there two weeks, and it was a pretty packed two weeks,” explained Lautman. “He was sniffling a lot and it got worse and worse. I was running around trying to treat it myself, getting cold medicine from Indian pharmacies. Looking back, that’s when I should have called Global Rescue.  The day we had to take a six-hour drive, he said, ‘Mom, I really think I need to see a doctor.’ So just before we got into the car, I called Global Rescue.”

Lautman continued, “The Global Rescue team provided me with a great deal of information, including instructions to reach an emergency room and the identity of an emergency medical technician.”

Lautman’s son was diagnosed with a sinus infection. He was prescribed multiple medications, including a “miraculous inhaler” that helped him breathe instantaneously. 

Unfortunately, soon after her son’s recovery, Lautman caught a virus. Again, she called Global Rescue for medical advice. “Tests were ordered but showed nothing,” she said.  “After a week, I was fully recovered and recommending Global Rescue to friends.”

“As a parent traveling pretty much anywhere abroad with a child, whether they’re a baby or 50 years old, to have absolutely no idea what to do to help them, particularly in a place like India, is daunting,” said Lautman. “You want to make sure you’re going to the right places because there are a lot of choices. In the first minute that I made contact with Global Rescue, it was literally like a giant boulder was taken off my shoulders.”

 

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FAQ Part 2: "How do I contact Global Rescue in an emergency abroad?"

  
  
Global Rescue

We would like to share more of your frequently asked questions along with our responses. Do you have a question about Global Rescue membership? Add it in the Comments below.

Q: How do I know which membership plan is going to work for me?  Do I need a 365 day plan to be covered all year?

A: The price of an annual membership is determined by the duration of a single trip abroad. For example if you purchase the “up to 45 days per trip” annual membership, then the duration of any one trip cannot exceed 45 days.  However, you may take as many trips as you like during the year that are less than 45 days in duration.  If your travel will exceed 45 days, there are additional membership plans available.  Or if you are going on a short trip, memberships are available for as short as 7, 14, or 30 days.

Q: How do I contact Global Rescue in an emergency abroad?

A: In case of emergency, members should contact our Operations Centers at +1-617-459-4200, or email operations@globalrescue.com.

Global Rescue requires two-way communication capabilities in order to successfully perform an evacuation. We always recommend traveling to remote locations with a satellite phone and extra batteries. Not only do satellite phones enable two-way communication, but we can often track the member’s coordinates through his or her phone.

Q:  Do I need to submit an itinerary or my medical history before I travel?

A:  Submitting your travel plans to Global Rescue is not required; however, in the event of an emergency, it can be very helpful if you send them to us prior to travel. 

 

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Q&A with U.S. Ski Team athlete Sophie Caldwell

  
  
Sophie Caldwell, US ski team, Global Rescue

U.S Ski Team athlete and Global Rescue member Sophie Caldwell had a breakthrough season in 2014. She placed sixth in the Sochi Olympics Freestyle sprint (the only U.S. female ever to make the top six at the Olympic Games in cross country skiing) and recorded her first individual World Cup Podium (only the second female to achieve that). Global Rescue caught up with Sophie before she headed out on her upcoming ski racing season:

What are one or two things that you are currently focusing on in training?

My main focus for the summer has been working on leg strength. I've done a lot of running, no pole, and one pole skating. I was recovering from an elbow injury and wanted to work on improving my skating this summer, and I think one pole skating can be very good for leg strength and technique. I've also been trying to do a lot of core strength and leg strength in the gym. 

What is your plan for early season racing post-injury?

My follow-up appointment is coming up, so I think a lot of when I begin to race will depend on what the doctor says. I'm currently planning on heading over to Europe with the rest of the team, but I plan on sitting out the first races in Finland and focusing on getting some on-snow training. Hopefully I will be using both poles and can start racing in Lillehammer in early December. 

What are you most looking forward to this upcoming season?

I'm really looking forward to World Championships in Falun this year. It's always fun to race in Scandinavia because of the ski culture there. Cross country skiing is huge over there, so fans get pretty excited when the races come back home. I'm also looking forward to exploring some new venues that I haven't been to yet!

What are your goals for this season?

It's tough to make a lot of concrete goals right now because I really don't know what to expect after my injuries this summer. I'd like to begin the season with no expectations and just be happy to be back racing again. I'd love to get back to being comfortable qualifying in sprints and become more consistent in the rounds. I would also like to improve on my distance racing this year. I've accepted that it will take some time to build back my upper body strength, but I think I can get it back with some work! Patience will be key this winter, but I'm feeling fit and strong (at least my legs are). 

What do you find is the biggest challenge when traveling all winter long?

The biggest challenge for me is being away from my family and home for so long. Luckily, my family will be coming over to Europe for Christmas, so I won't have to go too long without seeing them. Traveling to a new place each weekend is really exciting, but sometimes all I want to do is be home in my own bed. There are a lot of tricks we've picked up that make hotel rooms seem homier and just make travel in general easier. For example, I usually bring a photo album from home and a stuffed animal. Having a supportive team of great friends makes life on the road a lot more enjoyable. 

How do you prepare for international ski trips?

Packing for an international ski trip really isn't very different than packing for a domestic ski trip. We only have one suitcase and we're still primarily skiing, so my suitcase looks about the same. When I know I'm going to be gone for a long time, I usually throw in some extra staples like peanut butter and candies that I miss from home and know I will appreciate after being on the road for a while. 

It's reassuring to know that wherever I am in the world, I'll always have the protection and support of Global Rescue. There are a lot of things we need to adjust to when traveling to Europe for the winter and having Global Rescue, a medical and security service we're familiar with, adds a level of comfort that is sometimes difficult to come by.

What is the best strategy for packing skis for flight travel?

Down jackets! I take my biggest jackets and wrap them around my skis for extra padding. I also tape my skis together because they don't break as easily that way.

Sophie Caldwell, Global Rescue, US Ski team

Global Rescue deploys critical care paramedic to bring a sick child and her family home from Europe safely

  
  
Global Rescue, Cate Lanzettea, medical evacuation

Cate Lanzetta

While enjoying a family vacation on a beach in southwestern France, Carolyn Lanzetta experienced a parent’s worst nightmare. Suddenly her three-year-old daughter, Cate, had a full-blown seizure. The toddler fell down, started convulsing and vomiting, and became unconscious for several minutes.

Cate was rushed to the local hospital. Her bloodwork and a CT scan came back normal, but doctors recommended that Cate undergo additional testing before the Lanzettas took the long flight home to New York City.

“Obviously, I was very nervous,” said Carolyn. “In the middle of the night, everything rushed through my mind: How were we going to get her home?  Should we fly to Nice to get these tests done? Should we just go back to Paris and find a way to do it, or go to the closest hospital?”

The next morning, Cate had more seizures. The Lanzettas immediately took her to the children’s hospital in Bordeaux, where she was admitted.

Carolyn contacted Global Rescue. “I said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what’s happening but I might need your help to get my daughter home if this gets worse.’”

The Global Rescue Operations team immediately began monitoring Cate’s treatment, conferring with the hospital’s doctors about appropriate tests and arranging for Cate’s records to be sent to Global Rescue.

“The Global Rescue Operations team was in touch with us on a constant basis. It was a huge feeling of relief that we weren’t alone, that the Global Rescue team was making sure that Cate was being treated at the level we would want her to be treated, that she was getting the right tests, and that the medicine was the correct course of action.”

Soon after, Cate was diagnosed with a severe, rare form of epilepsy. “Immediately our priority was how to get our daughter home,” said Carolyn.

Global Rescue deployed one of its critical care paramedics to fly to Bordeaux to meet the Lanzettas, care for Cate, and provide medical support on the journey home. The company handled all of the travel arrangements for the family.

Arriving at the hospital, Global Rescue’s paramedic met with the neurologist to review the medications and confirm checkout information. The next morning prior to the flight, he met the family for breakfast, during which Cate had several seizures. “He was able to see the seizures and was taking notes constantly on everything,” said Carolyn.

Then the journey home began.  “I was sitting next to Cate, and the Global Rescue paramedic was right behind us. Immediately after takeoff to New York, she started having seizures, one after another. I was having an absolute heart attack. Here we were, stuck on this plane, and in an hour we were about to head over the ocean. Then there would be no turning back. It got to the point where I couldn’t sit next to her. It was really, really scary. I kept looking at our paramedic and he said, ‘It’s all right, she’s okay, she’s going to be fine.’ He was so calm, saying, ‘I have enough meds. We can get her back to New York. She could be having seizures the entire way and we’ve got enough medication to get her back.’”  

Cate’s seizures finally subsided after 90 minutes and she was okay after the long flight.

“Had Global Rescue’s paramedic not been on that flight, I surely would have gone up to the flight attendants and told them that we had to get off the plane. There is no way I would have been able to get through that without Global Rescue’s medical help to say, ‘I can take care of it.’”

Carolyn continued: “It was a huge relief just to know that I didn’t have to be concerned about administering the medicine, administering it the correct way, making sure she was all right, if she ended up choking—all of those fears that go through you when your child is having a seizure.”

Landing in New York, Global Rescue’s paramedic accompanied the Lanzettas in the ambulance.

“When we arrived at the hospital, we learned that Global Rescue had provided the hospital with all of Cate’s medical forms and all the insurance information. We arrived and they greeted us with, ‘Hi Cate, how was your flight from Paris? Here is your bed.’ It was the most amazing feeling. We made it and somehow we are going to figure it out.  Back in the U.S., they were able to treat Cate’s condition much, much faster than it would have been treated in France. The seizures would have just gotten worse and worse and worse, and more frequent as we had gone on.”

Carolyn praised the Global Rescue paramedic. “He was fabulous, just the nicest person to be traveling with and so engaging with the whole family, including my six-year-old daughter. He was so calming and gave us such a sense of confidence coming home. He followed up regularly to see how Cate was doing. It was so above and beyond what his duties were.”

Reflecting on the experience, Carolyn said, “If your child has a cold, you can figure it out and there are things you can do. But all of a sudden, something happens that’s new, that’s frightening. What do you do? Honestly I have not stopped talking about Global Rescue to everybody I know since we got back. Friends and family who travel with kids say, ‘How do we even travel without having Global Rescue?’”

Cate is doing very well with medication and a special diet. She has not had a seizure since leaving the hospital in New York.

“Having Global Rescue there was like having a big layer of comfort around you. It was just an entire other level of care and comfort that I could not have dreamed of. I knew that Global Rescue was looking out for us and taking care of anything we needed,” said Carolyn.

 “There‘s no way we would have gotten through it without Global Rescue.  I surely will not go anywhere out of this country without using Global Rescue. There’s just no way.”

Lanzetta family, Global Rescue

The Lanzetta family

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5 tips for women travelers to prepare for a travel emergency

  
  

solo travel, women travel, Global RescueEvery year, more women are making the decision to travel solo. In a poll of U.S. women by Booking.com, 72% responded that they are enthusiastic about solo travel and had traveled on their own for work or vacation.  As the trend in solo travel by women continues, Global Rescue would like to share these tips:

1. Bring a communication device that works. In addition to bringing your cell phone (which you should make sure works wherever you’re headed), a satellite phone or messaging device can be extremely important in remote areas of the world where there are no cellular networks. They can also save your life in an emergency or disaster where cellular networks become overloaded or disabled.   

2. Do your research. Read maps before venturing out to a new place and be conscious of areas to avoid. Get detailed information on your destinations and find out which neighborhoods have incidences of crime. Women should also be aware of major international hotels or key public locations along your itinerary where you can go if you feel unsafe.

3. Purchase medical and security evacuation coverage. If you need to get out of a tight situation, your insurance company isn’t going to do it.  If you get hurt and need to be medically evacuated, or need to escape civil unrest, having coverage can save your life (and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars).

 4. Alert friends and family to your itinerary. Do this before departing for your trip. Let people know when they should expect to hear from you next. Register with the U.S. State Department before your trip here: https://step.state.gov/step/.

5. Brush up on practical safety tips. Avoid telling strangers that you are traveling alone. Try not to establish patterns such as leaving or returning to your hotel at the same time every day. Maintain “situational awareness” and avoid walking alone at night. Do not stay on the first floor of a hotel or hostel. When using public transportation (train, bus, or ferry) in an underdeveloped country, if possible, ride in the highest class available.  Other simple preparations include: carrying a whistle; carrying a small flashlight; carrying or wearing comfortable shoes; and carrying an ID, a small amount of cash, and a credit or ATM card on your person and not in your purse in case of theft.

 

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Dengue fever: What you should know

  
  
dengue, Global Rescue, dengue symptoms

As the world focuses on Ebola, cases of another serious disease are on the rise around the world.  Dengue fever, which includes several variations including dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, has increased dramatically this year.  In Malaysia, for example, dengue fever cases have seen a threefold increase compared to the same period in 2013, according to the country's health ministry. There have been more than 80,578 reported cases of dengue fever throughout the country as of 18 October.

Cases have grown especially fast in China as well.  In the southern province of Guangdong, the number of reported cases jumped from 11,867 on 30 September to 21,527 cases on 6 October. As of 3 November, more than 43,000 cases have been reported.

With dengue fever also on the rise in the Americas, Mexico, and near the Texas border, it is imperative to be informed about the disease before traveling to any regions where you may be at risk.

Dr. Phil Seidenberg, Associate Medical Director with Global Rescue, shared some of the basic facts about dengue fever.

Like malaria, the disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. However, there are several key differences between the two diseases. 

“Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted illness, but it is viral, not parasitic. It is caused by a different mosquito than the type that causes malaria,” Seidenberg said.  Dengue-carrying mosquitos are more likely to bite during the daytime instead of at dusk and dawn, as the malaria-carrying insects do, and are even found in urban areas. There are currently no medications that can be taken to prevent dengue fever, so mosquito prevention is critical. 

If you have contracted dengue, the illness will surface in approximately 4-7 days from the initial mosquito bite.

Seidenberg outlined the most common symptoms, including:

·         -- Muscle or joint pain

·         -- Fever

·        --  Headaches (particularly behind the eyes)

·         -- Rash

Those who develop a more severe form of dengue fever may also experience:

·         -- Bruising and bleeding (particularly at pressure points, such as around waistbands)

·         -- Nosebleeds

·         -- Gastrointestinal bleeding

“The more severe form of dengue fever is referred to as dengue hemorrhagic fever, which causes these symptoms,” Seidenberg explained.  “With the more severe form, the platelet count drops, people bleed, liver enzymes go up, and people get a lot sicker.”  Adults are more at risk for dengue hemorrhagic fever than children, who often get much less sick once they’ve contracted the disease.  Those who have been exposed to or have contracted dengue previously are much more at risk for this form of the infection.  Seidenberg points out that dengue hemorrhagic fever is not the same type as some of the African hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola.

Typical treatment for dengue fever includes treating the virus symptomatically, with hydration and Tylenol (not ibuprofen or aspirin) for normal cases.  In the case of hemorrhagic dengue, patients should seek hospital care to be monitored and given fluids.  Unfortunately, there is no way to treat the actual infection itself. Statistics vary, but approximately 80% of those infected experience fever and flu-like symptoms following an incubation period of 3 to 14 days.  These symptoms eventually resolve provided the patient rests and gets plenty of fluids.  The remaining 20% of patients can become severely ill, with symptoms including very high fevers, rashes, vomiting, intermittent consciousness and bleeding.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dengue fatality rates range from 1%-10% depending on the individual and the timing and appropriateness of the treatment rendered.

If you’re traveling, check-in with Global Rescue, review updated dengue information in our GRID travel intelligence system, and consult the CDC website for locations with high rates of dengue here. 

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