The Pastor and Health

As a pastor, you may have a number of travel obligations and opportunities. Before you travel to foreign countries, research guidelines and tips regarding vaccinations and safety because knowing how diseases are spread may help you from getting sick. . .

-is wellness program coordinator, Adventist Risk Management, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

As a pastor, you may have a number of travel obligations and opportunities. Before you travel to foreign countries, research guidelines and tips regarding vaccinations and safety because knowing how diseases are spread may help you from getting sick.

As in Bible times, infectious diseases (also called communicable diseases) still exist. With a variety of symptoms and outcomes, from flu-like symptoms to cirrhosis of the liver, these diseases prevail with some resulting in death. Approximately 15 million people die each year due to infectious diseases—nearly all live in developing countries.1

You need to recognize the importance of protecting yourself from getting exposed to lower the risk of disease. In some instances, disease can be prevented by vaccination; but there are certain infectious diseases, including some of the most important and dangerous, for which no vaccines exist.2 Talk with your local healthcare provider prior to your travels to receive vaccinations for the diseases that are most common in the areas to which you plan to travel.

Airborne diseases

Respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, can be spread from person to person, such as by the droplets of a cough or sneeze. These germs can stay on surfaces like desks and doorknobs and can be spread when the person touches their face without washing their hands. As for tuberculosis (TB), you do not get it by just touching clothing or shaking the hands of an infected person. Tuberculosis spreads by breathing infected air during close contact.3

Prevention Tips

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 15 seconds.

• Use antibacterial hand sanitizer regularly.

• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Do not share food or drink with sick people.

• Avoid close contact or prolonged time with known TB patients in crowded, enclosed environments.4

Foodborne diseases

You can catch a foodborne disease when you consume food or drink contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Foodborne diseases are common for travelers, especially in foreign countries, and can cause symptoms associated with diarrhea and vomiting.

Prevention Tips

• Eat foods that are fully cooked and served hot.

• Eat only fruits and vegetables that you can wash and peel yourself.

• Eat and drink only dairy products that have been pasteurized.

• Do not eat food from street vendors.

• Drink beverages that have been bottled or sealed (water, carbonated drinks, or sports drinks).

• Do not put ice in drinks.

• See country-specific tips for your destination.5

Vector-borne diseases

Some common vector-borne diseases6 include malaria and dengue fever.

Malaria is a serious disease that spreads by the bite of certain mosquitoes mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. Malaria can cause high fevers, shaking chills, flu-like symptoms, and anemia.7 Dengue fever is a disease—ranging from mild to severe—caused by four related viruses spread by a particular species of mosquito. Mild dengue fever causes high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain.8

Prevention Tips

• Take anti-malaria medication prescribed by your physician prior to, during, and after your travels to a part of the world where malaria is prevalent.

• Wear protective clothing such as long shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.

• Use mosquito repellent that includes DEET.

• Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when there is a higher prevalence of mosquitos.

Prevention is always better than a cure. Plan ahead. See your doctor. Get the recommended vaccinations. Take a supply of prescribed medications. God wants you to prosper and be in good health.


Medical consultants: Allan Handysides, MB, ChB, FRCPC, FRCSC, FACOG, and Peter Landless, MB, Ch, MMed, FCP(SA), FACC, FASNC.

FOOTNOTES

1. World Health Organization (2008), WHO Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update, www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/en/index.html.

2. World Health Organization (2005), Infectious Diseases of Potential Risk of Travelers, whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2005/9241580364_chap5.pdf.

3. MedicineNet, Tuberculosis (TB) (2011), www.medicinenet.com.

4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Tuberculosis: Infection Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/infectioncontrol/default.htm.

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008), Understand How Infectious Diseases Spread, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/infectious-diseases.htm.

6. A vector-borne disease is transmitted from humans by insects.

7. MedlinePlus, Traveler’s Guide to Avoiding Infectious Diseases, http://www.nlm.nih.gov.

8. Mayo Clinic, Dengue fever definition, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dengue-fever/DS01028.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
-is wellness program coordinator, Adventist Risk Management, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

September 2011

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Reliability of the New Testament Scriptures: Earliest Manuscript Evidence (Part 1 of 2)

Can we claim the Bible as a trustworthy and authoritative revelation of God’s will? That has always been a central pillar of the Christian faith. In contrast to the honored place the Bible has held among Christians, a recent trend in textual scholarship, focusing on differences in ancient copies of the New Testament (NT), has raised a number of issues that call into question the accuracy and reliability of the NT Scriptures. . .

The Weightiness of Worship

Worship is one of the most important exercises any Christian can do. It is for this reason that we were born. . .

Get Back to the Basics. Be Jesus to Someone!

A colleague stopped by my office not long ago. We see one another seldom enough that we make the most of each opportunity for conversation. On this occasion, we got on to the subject of our families. He told me about his brother, a successful corporate executive. “When I’m with him,” he said, “I sometimes think I would have been better off doing something like he did. I wouldn’t be so frustrated now.”. . .

Revival and Reformation--What revival does for a Christian

When the Holy Spirit brings about revival in the life of a Christian, this will be naturally evident. At the same time, we as Christians can encourage revival in our lives by practicing these characteristics. . .

Why Do Different Scientists Interpret Reality Differently?

It is generally assumed that well-educated people who dedicate their professional lives to the scientific study of nature are able to approach their subjects with a dispassionate attitude.1 Using sophisticated equipment, they make careful observations, conduct experiments, develop hypotheses, propose theories, and arrive at objective conclusions in their respective areas of expertise. . .

The Spirit in your life: Conditions for endowment (part 2 of 2)1

What does it take to be endowed with the Spirit of God? In the July issue, we explored four of the seven conditions for the reception of the Spirit, as revealed in the New Testament: repentance, implicit trust, obedience, and a burden for the lost. We will address the last three conditions in this article: persistent intercession, honoring the body temple, and letting Christ abide in your heart. . .

The Foundation for Genuine Community - Part 2 of 2

We all know Paul’s words: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NASB). In the fuller context (Gal. 3:26–29), the apostle describes our new primary identity after we experience baptism and become sons and daughters of God. . .

Creation and Evolution

Developed from a series of sermons on creation and evolution, Dwight K. Nelson’s revised edition of Creation and Evolution appropriately appeared in 2009 while the world celebrated the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)