Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Stay Healthy When Traveling

Nothing ruins a holiday more than getting sick. While some illnesses are largely unpreventable, being aware of the risks and taking a few precautions before you go can make all the difference. Here are a few basic tips for staying healthy on the road.
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Before you go

Research your destination. Are you traveling to a yellow fever zone? Is there a high risk of an infectious disease? Will you be at risk of altitude sickness? The best source of information on traveler’s health is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. If you are still not sure, visit your local doctor. Make sure you do your research several weeks before your leave date as you may require a course of vaccinations. Also, if you’ve been putting off that trip to the dentist, now may be a good time to go!


A basic first-aid kit is a must. Essentials include band-aids, antiseptic wipes, iodine/antiseptic cream, painkillers, insect repellent, sun cream and any prescription drugs you may be using. You may also want to consider bandages, water purifying tablets, anti-malarials, anti-diarrheal, vitamins and oral hydration sachets. The more health risks your destination and activities pose, the bigger your first aid kit should be!

On the Road

Get lots of rest!
Get lots of rest!
Before you freak out, cancel your plane ticket and refuse to leave the house, take heart, there are a few easy ways of staying healthy while you’re away.
  • Plan your itinerary to give yourself time to adjust to a new place and recover from jet lag. This particularly applies if you are traveling to a high altitude!
  • Be aware of how a change in climate may affect your particular health condition and plan accordingly
  • Make sure you have enough of your own prescription medication to last your trip and pack it in your hand luggage. Keep it in its original packaging to avoid delays at the airport
  • Pack as lightly as possible and be careful when lifting your luggage
  • Be aware of the dangers of the sun – take a hat and high-factor sun cream
  • Stay hydrated. If local water poses a risk, drink bottled water and don’t have drinks with ice
  • Trust your instinct when eating at stalls or restaurants – if they look dodgy they probably are.  It may be prudent to avoid meat and rice if eating at dodgy restaurant is unavoidable!
  • Strengthen your immune system: eat healthily, get enough sleep and exercise
  • Clean cuts well
  • Wash your hands when possible
  • Avoid mosquito prone areas if you can. Cover up, use repellent and a mosquito net when sleeping
  • If bitten by an animal, wash wound well with soap and water and seek medical advice immediately.
  • Take a rain jacket
  • Practice safe sex
  • Get health insurance!
Hope these tips help you stay safe and healthy on your next trip!
Emma McMahon

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν.""We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."Heraclitus the Riddler

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