The statement, “The world is a global village,” didn’t ring quite as true years ago as it does now: to get to a place thousands of miles away only takes a few hours, courtesy of the various modes of transportation that are available now. Considering how often we move around and how stressful traveling can be, it is necessary to take good care of ourselves. Today, Face2Face Africa will be sharing tips on how to be healthful travelers, and trust me, your bodies will thank you for using these tips.
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Preparing for Your Trip
People who travel a lot, especially over very long distances, have been found to have a 50 percent of coming down with a travel-related condition. To be honest, most illnesses related to traveling are usually minor; however, there are some regions that have serious endemic infections and diseases.
This is why before you go anywhere, find out about the health issues in the area you’re going to and what you can do to avoid getting them.
There are a number of things you can do to prepare for a healthful journey and travel experience, some of which include the following:
- Before you travel, see your doctor for a quick check-up to make sure you are healthy and have no inherent problems that can develop and cause problems while you are away. And if you have any such conditions, please comply with the treatment advice and regimen your doctor places you on.
- Ask your doctor if there are any vaccinations or medications you need to take, considering your destination, and receive them. Or better, see an occupational health/travel medicine doctor for more detailed info.
- Pack a small first-aid or medical kit for yourself and anyone else traveling with you. This can include two pairs of disposable gloves, plaster, methylated spirit, cotton wool, over-the-counter pain killers, and pain relief ointments. If you or your companion(s) are on any medications, pack enough of them or take a prescription note so that you can buy at your destination if you need to.
- If you intend to be away for a long time, it will be beneficial to find out about travel insurances and medical arrangements just in case you need to be treated or in the case of an emergency.
What To Eat, Drink While Traveling
I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that the most-common travel-related health problems are those usually picked up from consuming poorly prepared foods, drinks, or untreated water.
Here’s how to avoid diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting, and more:
- Drink only boiled or bottled water or use water purifiers or tablets.
- Avoid ice in drinks. I know it can be tempting to have your drinks “on the rocks”, especially if you are in a hot environment but please avoid them. You don’t know what kind of water was used in making the ice cubes or how they were handled before being dropped in your drink.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products and fruits and vegetables that have to be washed and eaten straight away. Instead eat fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, e.g. bananas and oranges. Make sure you eat food that is cooked well and eat while it’s hot as the heat kills a great majority of germs that may be present.
- Avoid buying food from street vendors. Where you can, eat only in restaurants and hotels that pass some form of sanitation and food handlers’ certification.
Other general travel health and safety tips to follow include:
- Avoid mosquitoes and other insects as they may carry serious infectious diseases.
- Observe good personal hygiene, e.g. washing your hands before and after eating.
- Set up daily reminders to take your daily medications.
- Abstain or practice safe sex. Just because you have travelled, it doesn’t mean it’s time to sexually ‘sample” the men and women in that area.
- Respect local customs and traditions, so you do not get in trouble.
- Avoid local animals, especially the ones that are wandering, lest you get bitten. If you do get bitten, seek medical help immediately.
- Seek medical advice if you feel any symptoms of illness.
- If you happened to fall ill during your travel, see your doctor for a health check-up on your return.
We travel for different reasons, but I’m sure you’d all agree that being healthy when we travel makes our trip all the more fun and worthwhile, so put your health first.
Live, love, explore, but most importantly, stay healthy folks!