Health care is the #1 concern when people travel. Definitely, no one wants to get sick not because getting sick ruins all the plans, but can also be a hassle especially since you are in an otherwise unfamiliar place. Here are some no-nonsense tips on how you can avoid getting sick while traveling.
1) Wash your hands often
Do not underestimate the power of hand washing. Hand hygiene prevents the spread of germs and bacteria and infection in general. It also minimizes the risks of contacting gastrointestinal illnesses such as diarrhea, gastroenteritis and even food poisoning. Hand sanitizers are okay. However, these shouldn’t replace washing your hands with soap and water.
2) Bring water with you
While on the road, we can’t be sure how safe the drinking waters are. This is more so in places where sanitation is questionable. If you have to drink tap water, make sure that it is purified. Bring bottled waters with you for that extra layer of protection. Consider buying a bottle with a filter so you need to buy several bottles of water.
3) Observe food hygiene practices
When eating out particularly on the streets, notice how the locals are preparing the food whenever possible. For instance, look for seemingly inconsequential ways such as wearing gloves when handling food, wearing hair nets when preparing the food, frequent hand washing, etc. You may expose yourself to E. Coli, salmonella, shigella, and other such contaminants that may result in an upset stomach if you are not careful with the food you are eating.
4) Check your food intolerances
True, they say, that the true pleasure of traveling is to eat what the locals are eating. However, you need to watch your food intolerances, too. If your stomach is not used to spicy food, then you can skip the curry. Otherwise, if the locals insist, try out a small amount of it. Better yet, tell the person offering you the food about your concern, so they won’t get offended by your gesture.
5) Get vaccinated
Protect yourself further by getting a vaccine. You need not go ballistic over the process since it is not necessarily a requirement. However, there are countries that require getting vaccinated before allowing entry. These countries are currently experiencing incidences of yellow fever and meningococcal disease, for instance. You need to present a certificate of vaccination. With this, check if vaccines are required before going to your desired destination.
6) Bring sunblock
Protect yourself from the harmful effects of too much sun exposure. Not only that, the sunblock lotion can also protect you from dehydration, which is actually the onset of heatstroke. Bring an SPF 30 or more sunblock with you.
7) Bring mosquito repellent
Mosquitoes are dreaded by all, not just the travelers. A mosquito bite can leave you with itchy welts and may even cause serious diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, and chikungunya. Even if you are traveling to low-risk areas, carry a mosquito repellent or lotion with you specifically products with between 30 to 50% DEET. Reapply frequently.
8) Get enough sleep
Aside from hydration, an adequate amount of sleep is considered as an effective weapon against getting sick. Don’t shortchange yourself by letting your body and mind rest for at least 6 hours.
9) Consult a travel health professional
Travel experts say it is best to visit a travel clinic at least six weeks before the travel date more so if vaccines are required. Vaccinations require recovery period for each vaccine before the next vaccine can be administered. The travel health practitioner can also give you tips in case you got sick while away from home.
10) Research on the health risks
Every destination has some health risks. Be proactive enough to learn as much as you can about your destination. Educating yourself is the best way to protect yourself from the health risks.
You cannot guard yourself against all the possible maladies. However, prevention is always better than cure. Don’t let yourself get sick by reducing the chance of getting sick. Take an active role in combating the risk factors. After all, it is your health and travel plans that are being ruined.
So, stay safe!