National Travel Survey Reveals That 63% of Travelers Get Sick on Vacation and Spend More Than $1,200 Per Trip

May 20, 1998, 01:00 ET from Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.

    SUMMIT, N.J., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- If you've ever meticulously planned
 for that perfect vacation only to have it ruined by a nasty bout of sunburn,
 or worse, motion sickness, you're not alone.  According to "Rx for Travel
 Health," a national travel survey of 1,000 men and women, 63 percent of
 travelers reported that they or a travel companion have gotten sick while on
 vacation, and spend more than $1,200 per trip.  Adding insult to injury, a
 vast majority of the illnesses were preventable.  The survey was commissioned
 by Transderm Scop(R) (scopolamine 1.5 mg) Transdermal Therapeutic System, the
 prescription travel patch that prevents motion sickness for up to three days.
     The most common illnesses that plagued those surveyed included sunburn
 (62 percent), motion or seasickness (34 percent), and allergies (34 percent).
 Other, less common illnesses encountered during vacation included "Montezuma's
 Revenge" (23 percent), and food poisoning (12 percent).
     The Real Cost of Getting Sick
     Missed activities and disrupted sightseeing notwithstanding, the survey
 revealed a substantial financial downside to getting sick while on vacation.
 Respondents to the "Rx for Travel Health" survey who did not get sick spent an
 average of $1,021 on their last vacation, but those who experienced illness
 ironically spent 21.55 percent more on their trip, or $1,241.  The unfortunate
 group who experienced motion sickness spent 33.4 percent more - or $1,362.
     The amount of money travelers spent on their last vacation did not impact
 their luck with avoiding travel illnesses.  More than three quarters
 (78 percent) of those who spent between $1,500 and $2,000 on their last
 vacation got sick while traveling, and an unfortunate 77 percent of those who
 spent more than $5,000 also got sick while away.
     Rx for Travel Health:  Take Two Minutes and Call Me in the Morning
     The survey also discovered almost nine out of 10 travelers who got sick
 (89 percent) did not consult a doctor before leaving.  Women were slightly
 more inclined than men to contact their doctors (12 percent versus 5 percent)
 and respondents under 50 years of age who got sick on vacation were less
 likely than those over 50 years of age to say they usually consult their
 doctor before going on vacation (7 percent versus 19 percent).
     According to Kenneth R. Dardick, M.D., a family physician and national
 travel health expert, now is the time for travelers to talk to their doctors.
 "All it takes is a brief visit -- or, in some cases, a simple phone call -- to
 your doctor a few weeks before your trip.  It can mean the difference between
 the time of your life and a time you'd just as soon forget!"
     It Ain't Easy Being Green
     With just over one-third (34 percent) of suffering travelers experiencing
 motion or seasickness while on vacation, special precautions need to be taken
 if you plan to take to the seas.  "If you're going to be on the water at any
 point during your trip," Dardick cautioned, "you should talk to your doctor
 about getting a prescription for Transderm Scop to prevent motion sickness,
 especially if you know you are prone to the malady."
     Westerners might pay special attention to the doctor's orders.  The survey
 revealed that those in the western U.S. seem to be the most susceptible to
 motion sickness, with 45 percent reporting they suffered from queasy stomachs
 while traveling.  "Research has shown that Transderm Scop provides
 significantly greater protection from the nausea and vomiting of motion
 sickness than the leading over-the-counter product," said Dr. Dardick.  "It is
 also more convenient.  One patch lasts for up to three days, while the leading
 over-the-counter product requires up to 24 tablets for the same three-day
     Want More?
     For more information about travel and health, a brochure approved by the
 American Academy of Family Physicians' Foundation is available to consumers
 free of charge from Transderm Scop.  Call 1-888-SCOP-72HR.
     Dr. Dardick reminds patients that Transderm Scop is a prescription drug
 that should not be used in children or by those with glaucoma, difficulty in
 urinating, or an allergy to scopolamine or other belladonna alkaloids.  In
 clinical studies of Transderm Scop, some side effects were noted, including
 dryness of the mouth (in two-thirds of users), drowsiness (reported incidence:
 less than one in six), and blurred vision.  While using this product, patients
 should not drive, operate dangerous machinery or do other things that require
 alertness.  Patients should avoid using alcohol.  Physicians should exercise
 special care when prescribing this product to the elderly.
     "Rx for Travel Health" was conducted March 6-8, 1998.  A total of
 1,023 telephone interviews took place among a nationally representative sample
 of adults 18 years of age and older (492 males and 531 females).  The
 interviews were conducted via Omnitel, a national omnibus survey administered
 by Bruskin Goldring Research of Edison, New Jersey.
     Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the maker of Transderm Scop, is a leading
 consumer pharmaceutical company that produces and markets superior brands for
 the treatment and prevention of medical conditions to enhance overall health.
 Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. is a subsidiary of Novartis AG, a global leader
 in the life sciences with core businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness and

SOURCE Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.