Getting sick during a trip is a real disaster. There is nothing worse than dreaming and meticulously planning a trip for months and then being forced to lose it.
I have to confess that air conditioning is my biggest threat on the road. So far, the crises of rhinitis have been my only illness in years of travel. However, even with everyone saying that I am immune to everything, I take some precautions before and during my trips.
The key to minimising the odds of getting sick is to make sure that we are not our worst enemy and we do everything we can to keep our body and immune system strong. So here are some tips to help you avoid getting sick on the go.
Get travel insurance
Ensure that you do not depart without good travel insurance, this will cover any health care expenses you may incur. Take your insurance policy with you and take note of all emergency contacts.
Before travelling, make sure your routine vaccines are in order. At the same time, talk to travel health professional 6 to 8 weeks before leaving for recommended or necessary vaccines for the country or region you are visiting.
Wash your hands
Hand hygiene is essential to stop the spread of infections and can drastically reduce the chance of getting sick.
You can carry a small gel pack with you. It’s great as a backup, but it’s not a substitute for soap and water. Whenever possible, wash your hands before and after meals and after using the toilet.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites
Mosquito bites can also transmit a wide variety of diseases, besides annoying you with painful welts and itching.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from bites is to apply repellent regularly, sleep under mosquito nets, wear clothes that cover most of your skin, and if you stay in an air-conditioned room, turn it on.
Drink bottled water
Most tap water is perfectly okay to drink, but only if you are a local. For travellers, the bacteria found in tap water throughout the world vary considerably, and the biome of your stomach may not get along with local bacteria. Avoid local water and even ice in drinks in countries that do not purify your tap water.
The best thing to do is to buy and drink only bottled water. However, watch out and see if the bottle seal is intact, a common scam is selling bottles refilled with tap water.
Be careful with food poisoning
Food poisoning is one of the major causes of gastrointestinal problems and diarrhoea of travellers.
You should always ensure that all the food you consume is fresh, properly cooked and served hot.
Protect yourself from the sun
Always use sunscreen outdoors and avoid prolonged sun exposure. Immense uncomfortable conditions can be triggered by extended sun exposure, such as itchy skin, fairly severe stomach problems, any potential sunstroke symptoms or excessive sun exposure.
Keep yourself hydrated
Keeping ourselves hydrated on the road is crucial, as dehydration increases during flights and in hot climates, not to mention the long hours spent hiking or exploring in the sun.
Dehydration makes you more vulnerable to invading insects, but it also makes it harder to recover from an infection.
Along with hydration, sleep is the most effective weapon against a possible disease or to combat it once you are already infected. Rest and hydration together, are your best tools for both prevention and recovery of travel sickness.
Take your medication
Always take a small pharmacy with you. By doing so, you will have the right medication at the right time.
When travelling abroad, buying something can be difficult, as language barriers, availability and even different formulas in different parts of the world can make it a bit complicated to know exactly what you are buying.
There are a lot more things you can do, but if you follow some of these tips, you’ll be minimising the risks.