How to Stay Safe and Healthy on your Trip

If you are planning on travelling, here are some tips to keep in mind

Prepare for travel

There are many things you can do to prepare for a healthy holiday, including:

  • Organize travel insurance, including cover if you need to be evacuated to a suitable hospital.
  • Pack a medical kit for yourself and any children travelling with you. Make sure you pack enough of any medications you need and carry a spare pair of glasses.
  • Take copies of your prescriptions for medicine and for eye glasses and contact lenses.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medicines you take.
  • Have a medical check-up. Make sure you are healthy before you travel.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. Consult your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before you travel, he will be able to advise which vaccines are suitable for you depending on:

Your medical history and age

  1. Your destination and kind of activities you are doing
  2. The season in which you are travelling
  3. The length of stay
  4. And the type of travel, for example, bus tour or backpacking

Eating and drinking while travelling

The most common travel-related illnesses are gastrointestinal diseases usually picked up from poorly prepared foods or untreated water. To avoid diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting associated with these illnesses:

Use boiled or bottled water, or water purifiers or tablets.

  • Avoid ice in drinks.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Avoid fruits and raw vegetables including salad leaves that have been washed in the local water.
  • Eat thick-skinned fruit that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges and mandarins.
  • Make sure food is cooked thoroughly and eat it while it’s hot.
  • Avoid shellfish.
  • Don’t buy food from street stalls – hotels and busy restaurants are safest.
  • Take care with personal hygiene.

Stay safe outdoors

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Wear loose and lightweight clothing during summer. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location. Wear suitable clothing for various activities.
  • Pack protective items, such as insect-repellent (that contains 20% or more DEET), sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Be especially careful during summer months as Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat regularly and drink water frequently to stay hydrated, and limit physical activity in the heat of the day.
  • Be cautious at high elevation also. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • Practice safe boating — follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if you are driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.

Information courtesy Archana Arora – Dietician

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