Illness is a part of our daily living and we must take the necessary precautions to avoid being deterred by it. Traveling to a different country or town doesn’t exempt you from falling sick, as a matter of fact when you travel to a new town you risk being exposed to different kinds of parasites, bugs, and environments.
So what must you do to reduce the risk of falling sick abroad? The primary thing to do to reduce your chances of falling sick abroad is to effectively combat the known risk factors. Get all your necessary safety pack and avoid exposing yourself to possible risks. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
Wash your hands regularly
This risk prevention method may seem basic, but it might interest you to know that most people don’t keep to it and as a result expose themselves to diseases. Washing your hands regularly is one of the safest diseases prevention methods and most be drilled into every one to reduce the risk of contracting a disease.
Keeping your hands clean by washing them with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizers is key to reducing the spread of infections and can reduce your chances of getting diarrhea, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, flu, norovirus, vomiting or even hepatitis A.
Washing of hands regularly has been considered one of the effective ways of curbing the spread of infection in a clinical setting by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. Traveling abroad doesn’t exempt from the risk, so stay safe by washing your hands regularly under hot water for at least thirty seconds.
Drink only bottled water
If you are not sure of the water purity in the area, it is safe to abstain from drinking water from local taps and having ice in your drinks. Even if the locals in the area seem to look healthy drinking the water, it is safe to stick to just bottled water especially if the sanitation of the area is not that great. Your stomach may not have the right bacteria to protect you from falling sick.
Always double-check the bottle to ensure it is properly sealed, there is a possibility it might turn out to be a refilled bottle with local tap water. Even when brushing your teeth use bottled water.
Avoid contaminated food
Be mindful of the kind of food you eat when you travel. Food contamination is one of the major causes of diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems. If you are not careful with the kind of food you eat, you risk exposing yourself to Cholera, Campylobacter, E.coli, Cyclospora, and much more.
Ensure that all the food you consume is fresh, properly cooked, and served hot. Avoid raw foods that you are not sure of how it was prepared.
Properly examine local foods before eating
When new foods are introduced to the stomach it tends to react to it especially if contains a lot of spices. When living abroad, you should be mindful of the kind of local food you eat to avoid food poisoning or even worse.
Eating food containing spicy curries and much red meat is a sure way of developing gastrointestinal upset especially if your stomach is not used to it. Food intolerance occurs when new food is introduced to the stomach and your gut can’t digest properly the new food you’ve eaten. This irritates the digestive tract causing stomach pains, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and heartburn.
Although the above reaction tends to go away quickly over time, it is therefore important that you be very careful about the type of food you eat. Nevertheless, if you must, gradually introduce it into your system by mixing it up a little bit.
Exercise is very important for the body system to stay healthy and fit to fit fight any infection. Exercise improves your overall well-being and enhances your immune system to stand against illness.
Although being fit does not guarantee that you won’t get sick, but you stand a better chance of quick recovery than when you don’t exercise. The fitter your body, the more likely your body is to shrug off illness. If you’ve not been exercising before now, it is time to start!
Avoid too much exposure to the sun
Getting sunburn while on vacation can spoil the fun of traveling, stay safe from the sun. Protecting yourself from the sun is more than just sunburn though. Cover yourself with loose clothing and hats to protect yourself from the sun in regions or countries with a hot or tropical climate. Remember to always stay well hydrated in such regions, you don’t want dehydration to set in and lead to a more serious condition requiring medical emergency.
It is always better to prevent a disease than to seek a cure. Vaccination is probably one of the travel health concerns that people tend to understand before embarking on their journey. It is always good to get vaccinated before traveling abroad.
You don’t need to get vaccinated every time you wish to travel out of the country. A lot depends on the vaccinations you have already, the country or region you intend going to, and some individual factors regarding medical records, what you will be doing abroad, and how long you intend to stay. It is better to see your local travel clinic or physician for advice before traveling.
Avoid Exposure to mosquito bites
Mosquitoes are annoying insects with painful and itchy welts and can transmit a wide range of diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and chikungunya.
Whether you are in a mosquito low-to-no-risk area, it is still important you protect yourself from any possible bite. Cover yourself properly in areas where there are mosquitoes. Certain preventive measures to use include:
Stay in an air-conditioned room. They are great at reducing the mosquito bites as they are properly sealed and less likely to let mosquitoes in.
Put on the right clothing and avoid exposing your body to mosquito bites.
Sleep under well-treated mosquito nets.
Make use of mosquito coils and plug-in devices if necessary.
Take antimalarials when necessary
Depending on the area you’ve traveled to, if it is considered a high-risk malaria area then take more antimalarial drugs otherwise don’t take it often. Antimalarials are like all medications and have side effects if abused. There are different types of antimalarial, each having its unique side effects.
Antimalarial affects different people differently depending on the type administered though. The fact that one person did not develop side effects does not mean another won’t. Nevertheless, those who suffer severe side effects are an absolute minority. Most people won’t even show any signs of side effects, and some will just suffer mild side effects. It is therefore important to research your travel destination and check out their malaria risk level.
Visit your travel health professional before traveling
Always seek the attention of your health professional before traveling abroad. It is not quite ideal for you to wait until the last minute before booking an appointment, you may not get all of the vital information you need.
It is recommended that you see your health professional at least 6-8 weeks before you travel, especially if it involves you taking more than one vaccination or you have a special health condition.
The outlined simple steps will help reduce your chances of falling sick abroad. Before embarking on your, take out time to think about your health and ready yourself for the trip. These are just general health tips shared, you can always get more information from your health professionals. You are free to share your suggestion or leave a comment regarding the subject below.