Getting vaccinated may be the last thing on your mind when heading off on vacation, but it’s important — whether you are traveling to an exotic destination or not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory recently, pointing out that the United States is currently experiencing the highest number of  measles cases in over 15 years, many of which were acquired overseas. 

 

As of June, 156 confirmed cases of measles had been reported to the center this year; 136 of them involved unvaccinated Americans who had recently traveled abroad, unvaccinated visitors to the United States and people who didn’t travel but may have caught the disease from those who did. The advisory, which encourages travelers planning trips abroad to make sure they have had the M.M.R. (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine before they leave, illustrates that it isn’t just far-flung places that are a source of concern — outbreaks are occurring in places like France, Britain, Spain and Switzerland. 

Those who run travel clinics are very used to seeing people going to developing countries or tropical countries getting the relevant shots. But nobody thinks about it when they go to Europe. The thinking is similar for other popular destinations, including Mexico and parts of Central America. There’s not a perception that you need to go and get a bunch of shots if you’re going to Cancun. But in fact, you should consider being vaccinated for certain food- and water-borne diseases like Hepatitis A— one of the most common vaccine-preventable infections acquired during travel — which is prevalent in Mexico and other destinations in Latin America. International travel was the most frequently identified risk factor for hepatitis A among United States cases for which exposure information was collected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As in previous years, most of those travel-related cases (85 percent) were associated with travel to Mexico, Central America or South America. 

Though many people recover from hepatitis A within a few weeks, in some cases the symptoms — fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and jaundice can last two months or longer. As a general rule, travelers should be up to date on routine immunizations no matter where they are going and what they are doing.  As for measles, the highly contagious disease has always been a risk for travelers in the developing world, experts say. But the increase in cases in the United States and large outbreaks occurring in Europe are recent issues, stemming in part from fears of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children because they believe immunizations cause illnesses, particularly autism, even though studies have found no reputable evidence to support such a claim. 

Before any international travel, infants 6 months through 11 months of age should have at least one dose of measles vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children 12 months or older should have two doses separated by at least 28 days — whether traveling or not. And adults should review their vaccination records to ensure they’re up to date. But be sure to consult a travel medicine expert, ideally four to six weeks before your trip, for a complete assessment. 

A good doctor who specializes in travel medicine will go through your entire itinerary carefully, and consider everything from the regions you will be visiting , your travel style, and the time of year, which can influence exposure to mosquitoes, to determine if the recommended vaccines or prevention measures are really necessary for your vacation. Many countries require an “international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis” signed by a medical provider for the yellow fever vaccine from travelers coming from an infected area. To be sure, travel vaccines aren’t cheap. But as long as you aren’t paying for unnecessary immunizations, the shots are worth it. 

Bottom line, vaccines are  just as important as your insurance policy. MHG Insurance Brokers employs passionate and knowledgeable insurance experts who provide sound advice on the most appropriate health insurance plan for individuals and families according to their unique financial situation. Let MHG Insurance Brokers help you find the best individual or group health insurance policy for you, your family and/or your business. Contact us today to find out more about group and individual health insurance.

Planning a Vacation? Be Sure To Plan Your Vaccinations Along With Travel Insurance

A common question asked by most business owners is whether or not they really need business, or commercial insurance. Considering that you and your business will face some form of liability or risk frequently, it is important to recognize and be aware of your exposure to these risks. From an employee’s on-the-job injury, to accidental damage to the property of a client or third party, to potential lawsuits, the possibility of encountering a variety of situations in which your business could be held liable is very real.

 

Accidents will happen, and the size of your business should not limit your ability to protect it. Depending on the type of business you run, there is a business insurance plan to meet your coverage requirements. Don’t make the costly mistake of believing that business insurance is just another money pit, it is paramount to the longevity of your business and livelihood that you secure adequate protection for your company.

MHG Insurance Brokers is an independent broker with resources and contacts that enable us to work with a variety of insurance carriers to obtain the best property and liability insurance for you and your company. We offer a complete line of business insurance solutions. When you choose MHG for your commercial insurance coverage, we will analyze the unique needs of your business to secure the best plan for you. We offer a complete line of business insurance solutions, including:

Please visit the commercial insurance section of our website for a full list of available coverage options, or contact MHG’s commercial insurance expert, Laura Lieberman. Be prepared for the unexpected – protect your business and personal assets today!

Business Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

The summer season is officially underway, and whether you live in sunny South Florida or not, things are starting to heat up all over the globe. Warmer weather means more time spent in outdoor activities, as well as swimming and poolside lounging. Although we all generally welcome a bronzy summer glow, the consequences of spending too much time in the sun have been well documented. 

 

Sunscreen products have recently undergone FDA scrutiny after 30 years of overstated claims to consumers. So what do these new regulations entail? We’ll explain below, along with some publicized criticism by prominent health advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The Food and Drug Administration has deliberated for decades with intentions "to help eliminate misleading claims about sun protection factors, water resistance, and cancer and wrinkle prevention," as CBS News reported on Tuesday. 

While the FDA's actions have helped to limit misleading claims made by sunscreen companies, EWG representatives note that the new rules include a weak standard for protection from UVA rays. Currently, the term “SPF” applied solely to a product’s ability to block UVB rays, the main cause of sunburns; but UVA rays contribute to skin cancer and premature aging. 

The new rules will establish a standard for over-the-counter sunscreens that will determine which products can be labeled as “Broad Spectrum,” or, those that provide protection against both UVB and UVA radiation. The CBS article references Dr. David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Washington, D.C.-based group, as saying, "FDA's action offers some noticeable improvements for consumers, such as limiting misleading claims. However, it is clear that FDA caved to industry and weakened its safety standards." 

For more information on the new regulations, as well as feedback from the EWG, read Fast Company’s detailed article here. Summer weather invites us to enjoy the great outdoors with warm weather and lazy days in the sun, but it’s always important to wear sunscreen, and to be well informed about new regulations that shine a light on long-standing misleading claims. 

Skin cancer is an ever growing concern, with melanoma rates growing by nearly half from 1992 to 2004 in the U.S. alone. If you have any suspicions, it is important to schedule an appointment with your physician. Having quality health insurance is more important than ever before in the current economical landscape. 

Let MHG Insurance Brokers help you find the best individual or group health insurance policy for you, your family and/or your business. Contact us today at the location nearest you to find out more about group and individual health insurance today.

Health Watchdog Group Shines Harsh Light on New FDA Sunscreen Regulations