It is important to realize that some destinations suffer from the lack of hygienic standards and amenities as those enjoyed in our home environment. In developing parts of the world and in hot climates there are greater risks for illness, injury, and disease.
Having an illness or injury while on a vacation can spoil the best laid plans for a relaxing and fun-filled experience. Think of your trip as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Learn all you can about your destination to avoid any health problems.
Some of the questions that your travel agent should answer, especially when visiting hot climates and developing countries are:
– Is this an insect pest-prone area?
– Are immunizations mandatory?
– How far in advance must the shots be taken?
– Are your immunization records up to date?
– Is the local water supply safe for drinking?
– Is food contamination an issue?
– Should there be any concerns about local foods?
– Are there risks when buying food from street vendors or local markets?
When booking your trip, have your travel agent supply you with information that includes emergency medical coverage and doctors who speak your language.
It is always practical to fully prepare an itinerary, listing each of your destinations, dates, length of stay, hotels, and contact information. It is always wise to leave your itinerary with a member of your family or a friend.
Contact your embassy or consulate as soon as possible after your arrival in the countries you are visiting so that they can help you should an emergency arise.
It is critical that you check with your insurance agent to see if your policy covers medical and evacuation while traveling abroad.
Before you travel, check that your prescription medications will last you for the length of your trip and longer. Make certain that you have an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses.
If you are wearing a medical information bracelet, check that the information is current; this can save your life, especially if you are allergic to certain medications or foods.
Pack a good quality first aid kit for emergencies; this is a must for any remote or off the beaten track excursions.
Watch what you eat and drink! Diarrhea is the most predictable travel-related illness. Take the following precautions:
– avoid raw or uncooked seafood;
– eat pasteurized dairy products;
– drink only carbonated beverages or commercially bottled water;
– use commercially bottled water to brush your teeth;
– avoid using ice cubes or ice in anything that you ingest due to possible water contamination;
– consult with your doctor to protect yourself in cases where the country you are visiting has a history of malaria; check if you would need insect repellents, special clothing, or bed nets;
– be aware of swimming in fresh water lakes and streams because they may carry certain diseases.
If you experienced any flu-like symptoms, vomiting, urinary problems, skin infections, or any other problem during your travels, see your doctor as soon as you return from your trip.
If you suffer from any chronic diseases such as heart, cancer, diabetes, or liver, check if your doctor would like you to see him upon your return.
Taking proper precautions before you leave and after your return from a trip is the safest way to guard your health and have more healthy and enjoyable travels.