Holiday Health Tips

Making the most of your holiday doesn’t simply mean loading up your schedule with visits to local sites and attractions; it also means staying healthy while you’re there. After all, you don’t want to spend your holiday fighting off the flu or visiting the local emergency room; nor do you want to be stuck filing holiday compensation claims for medical expense you incurred while abroad once the trip is over. Stay healthy wherever your travels take you by following these practical tips:

1) Get Immunisations and Medications Before You Travel

International travel sometimes calls for special inoculations and medications engineered to protect you from harmful foreign diseases. Do some research about the country you are visiting and think about the types of activities you will be participating in to determine whether or not you require special vaccinations or medications. For example, if you’re headed to the jungle, you might need the yellow fever shot or malaria pills. Check the NHS Fit for Travel and National Travel Health Network and Centre websites for detailed information about potential health risks affecting your travel destination.

2) Watch Your Food

Food poisoning, indigestion, and diarrhoea are all common concerns for international travellers. As such, you need to exercise caution about the foods you consume while abroad. As a general rule, avoid raw foods: those that have been cooked are less likely to make you ill. Avoid unpasteurised dairy products, as well as raw vegetables and fruits, which can be easily contaminated by soil or flies. Make sure you eat meats and seafood that are thoroughly cooked. Pack an emergency medical kit with antacids and diarrhoea medication just in case. It’s also a good idea to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you in case you are unable to wash your hands before eating.

3) Don’t Drink the Tap Water

When it comes to drinking water while abroad, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Opt for bottled water over tap water when you’re placing your order at the restaurant. In your room, you can boil tap water for one to three minutes to eliminate impurities. Another option is to bring iodine tablets with you and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the box to purify tap water. And remember: if the tap water’s not safe for drinking, it’s also not safe for washing fruits and vegetables, making juices, or brushing your teeth.

4) Protect Yourself from Bites

This tip is especially important if your travels will take you to a tropical or sub-tropical region. Insects are carriers of serious diseases—such as malaria and dengue—which may be spread to you via insect bites. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and insect repellent with 20 to 50% DEET to keep away mosquitoes and ticks; sleep in well-screened or air conditioned rooms. Treating clothing and equipment with permethrin may also help safeguard you against insect bites.

5) Get Insured

Even if you faithfully follow the tips on this list, you may still end up sick during your travels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to purchase special traveller’s insurance before you depart to help cover the costs of emergency medications, hospitalisation, or other services you may need while abroad. Do all you can to prepare yourself so that you can you can have a safe, enjoyable trip!

This is a guest post by Rhian Farnworth.