TRAVEL: Keeping Healthy When You're Travelling

When travelling, you are exposed to a variety of new situations, experiences, illnesses and toxins. In order to keep these from ruining your trip or your health, you should take precautions. The following are a few ways to avoid some of the biggest travel health issues.

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Start with Vaccinations
Before you travel anywhere, find out about what kind of diseases are prevalent there and what tourism ministries and health organizations recommend that you be vaccinated for before going there. While you may be perfectly well vaccinated for your home country, you might not be prepared for the diseases awaiting you somewhere else, and taking this precaution will ensure that you are less likely to contract anything unpleasant as you travel.

Don’t Drink the Water
Drinking local tap water in any country that’s not considered first world can be hazardous to your health. There is likely little to no treatment going on in the water supply, and you are putting your life at risk by drinking unfiltered and untreated tap water in many countries around the world. Most bottled water, however, is safe to drink, particularly if it is from a reputable source and claims to have undergone reverse osmosis on the packaging, which gets rid of most major waterborne pollutants.

Be Wary of the Food
You have to be just as careful of the food you are eating, especially if it is not packaged or is sold by street vendors. Not all places that sell food will adhere to the local cleanliness and health regulations, so you never know what you may be getting. Before you eat anything that you don’t know for sure is properly cooked and stored, you would find out from tourism ministries or people you trust whether it is safe to eat all kinds of foods in the area you are visiting.

Meats and fruits are the worst offenders, as they can carry bacteria that other foods may not, and knowing where they come from and how they are prepared will help to keep you safe. You also want to be careful about trying new foods, even if they are prepared properly. Some may contain items you are allergic to or may be spicier than you are used to. It’s good to find out what you are eating before you eat it, just to be on the safe side.

Protect against Malaria
One of the most common illnesses travelers deal with is malaria, and this is usually spread by mosquito bite. Its simple enough to protect against those bites by wearing repellent, keeping windows closed and using mosquito netting where possible, but you definitely want to check ahead and see if malaria is a problem in the country you are visiting so that you can be properly prepared.
If you find that malaria is present there, then carrying treatment for the virus is just common sense. You can’t expect that there will be ready treatment nearby when you contract malaria, so bringing your own treatment is the only way to ensure you will stay safe. It is advised to speak to your doctor or pharmacist beforehand as treatments such as Malarone and Doxycycline require you to start before travelling.
These tips should help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls that some travelers succumb to as they visit new places.

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