Top 8 Health Care Tips for Travelers

July 29, 2016

One of the worst “surprises” you can experience on a long anticipated vacation is to get sick.  Not only does it cut into your fun and leisure, you may find yourself in an emergency situation.  By not planning ahead for a myriad of circumstances, your minor health scenario could blossom into something more serious and make you even more stressed.

Before your next trip, follow these 8 health care tips and travel safely.  A few precautions and some common sense can make all the difference between a small stomach upset and a trip to the emergency room.  Whether you are abroad or closer to home, these suggestions can cover a broad range of possible situations.  We have simplified them for every kind of traveler.  So, take a hint from the scouts and “be prepared”!

  1. Ahead of time: Be sure to take your vitamins and be updated on all vaccines.  Do some research beforehand of the place you will be traveling to and know what kind of shots you need that aren’t the norm for your present lifestyle and residential area. Be vigilant about taking all of your prescribed medicines before and after you reach your destination.  Consistency may ward off infections or illnesses while keeping your immune system at its peak.  Vitamins can help replenish nutrients that are lacking in the local fare and what your body may be used to getting with your regular diet
  1.  Hand sanitizer: It cannot be stated strongly enough that you not only carry, but use hand sanitizer frequently.  The cleanliness factor of other places may not be what you are accustomed to and foreign germs seem to be attracted to travelers.  Many an infection can be deflected with this good habit.  It is a good idea to keep one on your person or purse and an extra supply in your suitcase.  That way you can refill your personal hand held container every evening in your hotel room.  
  1. 3.  Medical history and medication list: Carry a complete list of medications that you are currently taking, prescription or not.  It is also a good idea to have a short medical history with you as well.  This should include any medical conditions, blood type, allergies, etc. Having a medical alert system will be a good addition. In case of emergency, medical personnel will be able to locate these easily and provide you with the necessary help and care.  A more positive outcome can be possible if they know more about your medical history and they know it quicker.
  1.  Eat and dehydrate wisely – Sealed beverages are the safest bet, especially when you are in a foreign country and you don’t know the quality of the local water.  Make sure all fresh fruits and vegetables are cleaned in purified water and use it to brush your teeth with too!  When you don’t know what ingredients are in a dish, feel free to ask.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t pronounce it as long as it’s safe to consume.
  1.  Pack all your medications: It is imperative that you take all your daily medications with you on your trip.  They need to be in the pharmaceutically labeled containers that you received them in.  This is also important for the non-prescription ones such as pain meds, antacids, antihistamines, cold/flu meds, antibacterial ointment or cream and a basic first aid kit.  In case of emergencies, it is better to have the items that you would find in your own medicine cabinet, than to try to find an open pharmacy in the middle of the night in a foreign country.
  1.  Avoid over-imbibing: Though those fruity, tropical drinks are so delicious, be aware of your alcohol intake.  Not only can you become seriously dehydrated the more alcohol you drink, it will impair you judgement regardless where you are.  Secondly, make sure you don’t drink and drive.  Be informed of the local permissible limits of liquor consumption and don’t wait to find out after it’s too late.  You don’t want to spend your vacation in a legal quagmire that could easily have been avoided with some basic wisdom.
  1.  Avoid overexposure and insect bites: Though sandy beaches and refreshing waves of water can beckon you to be out all day in the sunshine, don’t skimp on the sunscreen.  It hurts just as bad away from home.  The skin damage can be avoided with liberal applications of a high SPF sunblock.  Ditto the insect repellant.  Bug bites are no picnic and can become quite dangerous if you are stung or bitten by an unknown or unusual insect.  Skip the emergency room visit by spraying yourself before every trip outdoors.
  1.  See a physician: Lastly, if you don’t feel good, over-imbibed or had any kind of injury, see a doctor right away.  Don’t wait until you get home to see your own physician.  Though it is a good idea to follow up with your regular doctor, don’t delay in getting immediate medical treatment that may be necessary.  The nearest embassy or consulate can offer assistance in finding help in a foreign country. With medical alert system, the emergency stuff will provide assistance in any situation and help to resolve any emergency.  They can also direct you to a facility that is multi-linguistic and has experience with travelers from other countries.

Follow these tips and enjoy a safe and healthy vacation!

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