Staying healthy while travelling

There’s nothing worse than getting ill when you’re far from the comforts of home and family. With a little advance planning and common sense, most scenarios can be avoided.

Check with your local travel medical clinic at least 4-6 weeks prior to departure. Depending on your destination, some vaccines may require advance inoculating to be effective. They will have a list of mandatory and recommended medications for most destinations worldwide.

Common requirements for Africa are yellow fever and typhoid. Malaria medications are recommended for a large number of exotic destinations. Hepatitis A is also a requirement for South America as well as South East Asia. Recently it has been recommended that children be vaccinated against polio when travelling to South Central Asia.

Get your supply of prescription medicines if you use any and also ask your physician for the generic names of those drugs so that you should not face trouble replacing them if you either lose them or run out while abroad.

A strong immune system will help ward off any germs or bacteria you may encounter. Try not to stress out too much prior to your trip. If possible, take the day off prior to departure so that you can finalize your packing etc in an organized and calm manner. If you take vitamins or supplements on a daily basis, then be sure to maintain that practice while abroad. Try to get plenty of sleep, eat at regular intervals and try to get some daily exercise.

Once you’re at your destination it's common to want to do as much as possible to fit it all in! Try not to overdo it. A tired person is more susceptible to infection. Likewise, too much alcohol can really debilitate a person’s resistance.

Water intake is so important when in hot and humid locales. Getting dehydrated is very dangerous. Be sure to drink only bottled water when in third world countries. Be leery of buying water from street vendors as it is common practice to just re-fill bottles with unpurified water. It is safer to buy from stores where you can be sure of the container’s seals.

Everyone wants to try the local cuisine and region’s delicacies. Often they are cooked in different oils, use strong herbs and spices and contain exotic vegetables and meats. Start slow. When your body is unfamiliar with certain ingredients, it can rebel!! Common sense should prevail when choosing restaurants. If it or the food doesn’t look clean …. don’t eat there! Take recommendations from fellow travellers. Avoid foods that have been kept warm and be careful of fish and shellfish.

If you’re travelling in countries where malaria exists, be sure to bring strong insect repellent. Wear long sleeves and pants in early mornings and evenings when mosquitos are present. Check your body and clothing for insects after a jungle hike or after safari to avoids ticks.

Be sure to pack a travel medical kit with standard painkillers, antihistamines, antibiotic creams and antiseptics. Most ailments can be treated with these over-the-counter remedies however if someone is truly ill you should not hesitate to visit the local medical clinic. They are best qualified to treat their local ailments.

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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