How To Stay Healthy When Traveling Overseas

travelling overseas tipsTraveling to a new country or destination is a wonderful thing that most of us plan for and dream about months ahead. The last thing you want to worry about when you are traveling is getting sick along the way.

I can remember a few years back when I planned a trip to Mexico. It was during winter time and every day I imagined myself laying on a beach with a fruity drink in my hand soaking up the rays. When the long anticipated day came around and it was time to travel, I remember driving down to YVR and waiting in line to board the plane.

I was surrounded by people in the line up in front and behind me coughing and sneezing from winter colds. I kept praying these people would not end up on the same plane as me and my husband.

Well just our luck, as soon as we boarded and clicked our seat belts, it was one sneeze after another. Then the plane took off and some people started to turn on their air vents above them and my husband and I looked at each other and said ” I hope we don’t catch anything”

Sure enough two days into our trip, my throat started to ache and guess what? I didn’t have anything in my suit case. I needed a Halls and a cough drop like there was no tomorrow. The hotel we were staying at had a small room with condiments and the only medicine they had was single packages of aspirin. I just could have died. I resorted to salt water to gargle but it only helped short term.

By the next day I was full blown sick, sneezing and coughing. The weather changed drastically and a storm came in and it was actually cold. I could not believe it. We didnt have warm clothes and the floors were tile and cold on your feet. It was a disaster. Then my husband got sick too and he was miserable. We spent our week sitting around a pool, not swimming and eating buffets and laying in our room watching TV. It was hardly what we envisioned for a holiday.

So I learned my lesson that trip. I hope you can to and plan ahead. Always prepare for the worst. Especially when you know you are not going to be anywhere close to home.

Here are a few things that you can do to make sure that you don’t get sick on your trip and things you can do to prepare yourself just in case it ever happens.

Things to do before your trip

  • Before you head out to your destination, it is important that you consider the following safety tips:
  • Talk to your doctor or a travel health professional about necessary vaccinations
  • Prepare your medications, in case you are suffering from a disease or chronic condition
  • Pack a first aid kit
  • Usually people get so excited over their trip that they forget small, yet significant aspects of travel safety such as:
  • Reading about common health conditions in your destination
  • E-registration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Travel insurance

  • Providing a copy of your itinerary to members of your family
  • Preparation of a Health Card consisting of vital information
  • Keeping yourself safe in a new environment
  • Make sure you are aware of the health risks around you and keep yourself safe by following the given practices:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap on a regular basis. Consider using a hand sanitizer as well before a meal and after using the bathroom
  • Familiarize yourself about the health risks of blood-borne illnesses
  • Practice caution against mosquitoes and prevent yourself from getting bitten (with mosquito nets, insect repellents etc.)

Food safety

  • When it comes to drinking fluids, make sure you only get water or beverages from safe, reliable and reputable places:
  • Drink bottled water only
  • Avoid using tap water for brushing or rinsing your mouth
  • Avoid using ice
  • For food, the following precautions must be taken:
  • Eat food that is boiled or cooked or fruits and vegetables that can be peeled
  • Consume food that is cooked thoroughly
  • Avoid having salads or cut fruits if you are not sure about the cleanliness or the freshness of the food
  • Avoid having chef specials, whole-day buffets and food from street vendors

Other personal safety tips include:

  • Use sunscreen and insect repellent whenever you are out
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when you drive or avoid or limit consumption altogether
  • In case of outdoor or adventure activities, make sure you wear protective gear and are properly covered
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