Health rules when jetting overseas
The majority of health problems we encounter abroad are caused by small and normally avoidable mistakes that don’t seem of great importance when we’re packing our swimwear and favourite sundresses. Common health problems we contract abroad include sunstroke and stomach upsets, so how do we stop these infections escalating? Here are some health travel essentials to help dodge these holiday disasters; so you can pack your bags and indulge in a safe and enjoyable trip abroad. Happy holidays!
Pack a first aid kit
Wherever you’re jetting off to it’s a good idea to include a small first aid kit in your luggage. The kit can not only give you peace of mind but it can also come in handy for mini emergencies. Even small wounds can get infected and basic first aid products will help you keep cuts clean and bacteria-free. You don’t have to haul around a fully equipped paramedic first aid bag, all you need are some simple kit staples including antiseptic wipes, plasters, bandages, antihistamines (for insect bites, rashes and allergies) and pepto bismol (to ease nausea and diarrhea), but remember adjust your kit according to your destination.
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Drink bottled water
Many diseases can be caught through drinking contaminated water, with some of the most deadly including cholera and dysentery. If you are travelling to countries with poor sanitation, never drink water from the tap. Remember that even ordering a washed salad or having ice cubes in your drink can give you the undesirable symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, so opt for cooked veg and peeled fruit instead. You can also take extra precautions on your trip by investing in some water purification tablets, brushing your teeth with bottled water and always check the seal on bottled water before drinking.
Keep mindful about mosquitoes
Pack a plentiful supply of insect repellent; if you’re unlucky with insects, particularly if they view you as an exceptionally tasty snack. You should aim to keep your arms and legs covered in the early morning and evenings when mosquitoes are mostly around. Choose to wear lightweight, loose clothing as mosquitoes can easily bite through tight-fitted clothing. If you’re going tropical, look for a repellent with DEET in. But if you’re concerned about chemicals, researchers in Iowa State University, USA, found that the essential oils in the minty plant ‘catnip’ to be around 10 times more effective at warding off mosquitoes than other branded synthetic repellents. Try taking vitamin B and garlic supplements before you go, as they’re thought to make your blood less enticing to the nasty critters.
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Buy travel insuranceThis is essential for anyone travelling abroad. No matter how careful you think you are, you can’t predict the future. You might get discounted or free medical attention if you only have your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card, formerly E111) but this does depend on the country severity of your needs. Regardless of the injury, your medical costs can soon become extortionate. Take a copy of your insurance details so you can be clear on how to claim if it comes down to it. It pays to know what you’re covered for in the small print of your insurance policy should you experience unforeseeable setbacks throughout your trip.
Avoid getting sunstroke
The objective for most holidaymakers is to get a glowing tan. But you can’t do much sunbathing from your bed when you’ve been struck down with sun stroke, so it is important to sunbathe with caution. The symptoms of sunstroke include a raised body temperature, nausea or vomiting, headaches, dizziness and exhaustion. To minimise the chances of sunstroke wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep your neck and head covered, wear loose fitted clothing and stay hydrated; drinking water or a drink containing electrolytes. In hot countries, locals swear by alternating hot and cold drinks to moderate your body temperature, so if you fancy a cuppa, it may do you good.
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Buy hand sanitiser
A small bottle of hand sanitiser is an essential item for anyone’s beach bag. This instant antibacterial product can perform small health miracles, by stopping the spread of viruses and bad bacteria. The sanitiser can come in the form of gel, spray or foam and is easily popped into your luggage. Remember to use it before you hitting the buffet lunch.