Staying Healthy

Basic Health Guidelines

2012 Group after paintingThe biggest and most important health precautions our students can make are the same ones they’d make at an American summer camp. We spend most of our time outside in hot temperatures. The most important things students can do to stay healthy are:

• Drink plenty of water. Filtered water is provided for students at all meals and in all accommodations.
• Wear bug spray at all times. We even ask that students wear bug spray when inside.
• Wear sunscreen when outside.
• Eat sufficient food at all meals.
• Sleep in the evenings.

If a student is unable or unwilling to do any of the above, he or she may be asked to sit out of activities until it is healthy and safe for him or her to continue. Drinking sufficient water and eating enough at meals are incredibly important to staying healthy in an active environment in hot weather.

The above precautions, as well as treating any minor cuts and scrapes with antibiotics and covering them, help avoid most of the common ailments suffered by travelers abroad.

Medical Information
When a student is accepted to the program, the required paperwork will include a number of medical forms and permissions, one of which must be signed by a doctor. We ask that you take special care to complete the form completely and truthfully. Omitting any information, whether or not it seems relevant to you, puts your child at risk. Please equip us to keep your child safe and healthy by giving us all the information we need.

Substance Abuse
Loop Abroad students are not allowed to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes during their travel with Loop Abroad. This applies even if they are of legal drinking age in their home or program country and even if they are of legal smoking age in their home or program country. This applies even if their parent or parents permit them to drink alcohol or smoke at home. Drinking alcohol or smoking during the program may result in a student’s immediate dismissal from the program. Disciplinary infractions will be handled by the Loop Abroad staff on a case-by-case basis.

Loop Abroad has an absolute zero tolerance policy toward the possession, distribution, or use of marijuana or other illegal drugs. This includes prescription drugs that are not prescribed in the student’s name. The penalties for possession of marijuana abroad can be extremely severe, and can include life imprisonment without access to a US embassy or lawyer. As such, we can have absolutely no leniency in this rule. Any student who brings marijuana on the trip will be sent home immediately, on their own, at their parents’ expense. We have never had an infraction of this rule, but we want to be exceptionally clear that this trip is NOT the place to test the boundaries of this rule.

Medical Insurance
Each Loop Abroad student is required to have medical insurance that covers treatment during their Loop Abroad program. The student is responsible for the costs of any medical treatment required during the program, and parents share that responsibility if the student is under 18. You should check with your insurance provider to ensure that foreign coverage is included in your child’s medical coverage. You may want to purchase travel insurance that specifically includes medical coverage abroad, which can usually be done for under $50. We can help you find a plan that meets our insurance requirements.

Planting riceHospitals
For anything beyond small cuts and scrapes, minor headaches, low fever that responds to painkillers, jetlag, or similarly minor injuries and illnesses, our general course of action is to take the student to the doctor. In a non-emergency situation, we will always attempt to contact parents first and will discuss the course of action with parents first for students under 18 years of age.

Hospitals in Chiang Mai have Western-level medical care, an English-speaking staff, and a 24-hour emergency room. Other program locations are 1 to 2 hours from a hospital.

No vaccines are required for participation in a Loop Abroad program or for entry into Thailand or South Africa. We always suggest that you check with a travel doctor for what vaccines or preventatives he or she suggests for your child. Chiang Mai is generally NOT considered a malarial zone, so most travel doctors will not prescribe an anti-malarial. Most travel doctors will suggest that travelers to Thailand have up-to-date Hepatitis and Tetanus vaccines, as travelers to any country should.

Water and Food
Students will be provided with bottled water for drinking at meals and all times in between. The tap water is safe for showering, brushing teeth, and washing. Students do not need to be concerned about eating uncooked fruits or vegetables at our program locations.

Students may experience some minor stomach upset in the first few days of travel due to all the food and water being different from home. Some travel doctors will provide a prescription for Cipro to treat traveler’s diarrhea, but most of the time this is far from severe and lasts only a few days. We encourage students to let their staff member know if they are feeling at all under the weather or experiencing any stomach upset, so that we can make sure it doesn’t last too long.