Travelling care free is great, until you get ill. It’s best to make sure you take precautions before you go…
Unfortunately, it can happen to us all and getting sick can really ruin a trip. In the UK you can get the basic vaccinations for travel on the NHS, but if you want to get the best coverage you will need to get travel vaccinations such as tuberculosis, Japanese Encephalitis and meningitis. So if you are planning your travels, be sure to keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure when it comes to health care on the road.
Staying healthy is easier in some places than others, especially when it comes to local health and safety around food; or even local environmental issues such as the wet season, drought and access to clean water. Wherever you go in the world, it helps to be aware of the different ways you can look after your health when travelling – these travel health tips will help you avoid the worst case scenarios:
Beware of mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are the bane of every tropical traveller and you most likely will get bitten when travelling to many places such as Asia, South America and Africa. These insects may contain different viruses, such as zika and malaria, but don’t panic, most of them don’t. Most travellers will get bitten by mozzies and not get any ill effects – but it is best to take precautions.
It is best to use a lotion that can protect you from insect bites. DEET is a strong anti mosquito repellent but also a strong chemical. Citronella is a more natural repellent, or eat plenty of garlic and chili!
If you are heading to a malarial zone, it is strongly advised that you get anti malarial drugs.
Check the water
Being one of the basic needs of a human, we take running water for granted in the west. But not all water is safe. Failure to take in clean and potable water would also result to serious health issues such as cholera or dysentry. We ran an article about water safety around the world, but in general a water filter bottle and sanitation kits are available online. Or buy bottled water.
If you think you might be exposed to water borne diseases, take precautions and get inoculations for cholera, typhoid and Hepatitis A and E.
Be safe under the sun
While being under the sun is what many of us go on holiday for, it is also dangerous to be under it for a long time. Being exposed to the heat of the sun for more than an hour can cause some skin problems and complications. Excessive sunburn may in skin cancer. It is best to avoid the sun at midday, stay in the shade and stay hydrated. You can still enjoy the sun by applying necessary sunblock with high SPF content (ideally 30+).
Make sure you’re vaccinated
Ensuring you have the necessary vaccinations is a must for longer term or regular travelers. Vaccinations against different illnesses such as measles, chicken pox and other health complications are available in most countries for you to be always protected from the above issues. But if you will be working with or amongst animals, be sure to get your rabies jabs. Once you get infected by something it can be hard to find the right vaccinations in certain countries, so to make things easier, get vaccinated before hand.
Getting Travel Vaccinations
You probably want to avoid seeing hospitals in the countries you’re visiting, so be prepared before you go. Acquired diseases from another country are sometimes hard to cure when you get back to your home country and in worst case, can lead to the possible spread of disease and epidemic once you get back from your travels. So, spare yourself from a headache and get travel vaccinations before you leave.
If you’re in the UK (or passing through on your way to the wider world), and you’re looking for travel vaccinations in London, we recommend the London Travel Clinic. With 9 branches across the city including Kings Cross, Victoria, Liverpool Street and Oxford Street – it’s simple to get an appointment and make sure you’re ready for whatever the world can throw at you. They offer affordable travel vaccination packages and consultations for everyone. You can also call them on +44 (0)20 3432 1387.
Each person’s immunity is not the same as another but we can always take precautions to make our trip safer and healthier.