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Staying healthy when traveling
It is essential that you take care of your health when traveling. Having travel insurance is not enough. I'll explain the basic everyday steps you should take to stay safe, healthy and continue having fun.
Before starting your trip you must have the necessary immunizations. Consult your doctor or medical center at least 2 months before you start your trip.
Stay safe travel tips
- Avoid domestic and wild animals. Rabies, and many other diseases, are not curable.
- Only drink bottled water. Ensure the bottles are sealed when you buy them.
- Do not eat at dirty establishments.
- Wash all fruit with bottled water.
- Do not swim somewhere unless you know for sure it is safe.
There are many areas of the world when you are likely to get diarrhea. Diarrhea occurs when you consume unclean food or drink. Diarrhea normally leads to discomfort and an inability to travel. It is rarely a serious problem.
The best cure is to only consume well prepared food and drink. Do not drink tap water, eat salads or ice cubes. Only drink sealed bottle water, this includes brushing your teeth.
If you get diarrhea you must rehydrate yourself. Drink plenty of water, juice or coconut milk, but avoid tap water! Drugs such as Immodium only prevent the symptoms (going to the toilet), they do not cure the problem, but do allow you to travel if necessary.
If symptoms persist, are extreme or are combined with vomiting seek medical attention.
There are many causes of fever, but malaria is a major cause and requires prompt treatment. Malaria occurs occasionally even if you take anti-malarial tablets correctly.
Avoid insect bites by using creams, sprays and nets.
Malaria is not a problem above 2,000 meters.
Prevention is always better than cure, especially with insect bites.
- Insect repellents come in various forms. The most popular are di-ethyltoluamide (DEET)
- DEET concentrations of around 305 are considered suitable for skin, and stronger concentrations can be used for clothing.
- If allergic to DEET, alternatives include Dimethyl Pthalate (found in 'shoo') or Lemon Eucalyptus oil (found in 'Mosiguard')
- Aerosol and pump-sprays are available, and are good for treating clothes. For the skin it is better to spray onto your hands, and then apply to exposed skin areas.
- Liquid, creams and lotions are designed for skin application.
- Clothes are the best deterrent of insect bites. Use repellents on the remaining exposed skin areas only.
- Repellents can damage plastics such as contact lenses and watches.
- Mosquitoes can bite through skin-tight clothes, but not loose clothing.
- Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
- Never apply repellent to eyes or mouth. Use sparingly around the ears.
- Just Use just enough repellent, excessive application is unnecessary.
- After use, wash treated skin. This is important with repeated use.
The Sun, and it's affects, are everywhere. Always protect yourself from the sun with good quality sunscreen. Never over expose to the sun. SPF 15 or higher is recommended.
Sand, snow and high altitudes increase UV exposure.
Remember, the sun is much stronger at the equator than in Northern Europe.
If you get itchy bites a antihistamine cream may help. The best cure is too not touch or scratch bites. The more you touch them, the longer they take to heal.
For infected bites and skin sores Fucidin or other antibiotic ointment (even iodine) can help. If the infection is bad then you should take an oral antibiotic treatment.