Most avid travellers have either heard the horror stories or experienced them themselves…bouts of Delhi belly, thousands of mosquito bites, the scare of dengue fever and zika virus or the uprise of super gonorrhoea! Long-term travel inevitably has an effect on our bodies.
Our daily routines and environments are thrown out the window and therefore it’s down to us to consciously regulate ourselves in order to maintain our health and safety whilst travelling. However, that is easier said than done when Chang beer and Ritz crackers become your staple diet and somehow you’ve managed to convince yourself you have a stomach made of steel. Here are my top tips to preventing illness and maintaining health and safety whilst abroad:
1. Schedule a vaccination appointment
When travelling internationally, you may be exposed to unsanitary environments or animal that carry harmful diseases such as malaria, cholera etc. As a prevention method, additional vaccinations are required. However, vaccinations are dependent on where you are travelling to, the type of activities you will be involved in, and your vaccination history. As a result, consult with your local GP or health centre for up to date information about vaccine requirements or prevention methods.
2. Research water advisories
If you are exploring a different country, specifically a developing country, you may not be able to drink the water. Water in some destinations is unsanitary and you will be at risk of contracting waterborne illnesses. Before jetting off on your adventures, carry out some research to see what is recommended for your destination. If you are in doubt, always buy bottled water at your destination for the use of drinking and brushing your teeth.
3. Use hand sanitiser
When you’re on the road, pack a hand sanitiser in your beloved bum bag! When travelling, your immune system is swamped with all new types of bacteria’s, so you may be more susceptible to illnesses. Hand sanitiser is a godsend! Use it before you eat or after leaving public transport/sights to prevent catching and passing on bacteria/infections.
4. Wrap it up!
With super gonorrhoea splashed across the headlines, stock up on condoms. You may not be able to obtain them abroad either, due to language barriers or differing sexual education and customs, therefore remember to take a supply with you on your travels.
5. Healthy, balanced lifestyle
The best part about travelling, in my opinion, is indulging in new cuisines. However, many people seem to forget that exotic foods can increase your chances of illness. Supporting your immune system is a powerful way to help prevent travel related sickness and disease. Try to maintain a balanced diet, alongside trying all the new exciting dishes that are on offer to you.Try not to forget about fruit and vegetables when tucking into your second helping of deep fried Jalebi. Providing your body with healthy food can help ward of illnesses, as well as fuel you with energy for more sightseeing. Meanwhile, when choosing a street vendor, choose a stall where you can see the food preparation, whether food categories are both separated and stored hygienically, and most importantly…pick one that locals are navigating towards. Often locals know best, so take note!
When on vacation, alcohol consumption tends to skyrocket…well for me anyway! Consider either indulging in less alcohol daily, take periodic breaks from alcohol consumption, or scrap it entirely in order to give your body the rest it deserves. Alcohol not only makes you feel sluggish, hungover and dehydrated, but can impact your immune system if you abuse it.
Work out! It may be the last thing on your agenda when there are a million exciting activities and beautiful sites to explore, but maintaining your fitness levels whilst backpacking is one of the best ways to fight off unwanted infections. Exercise will also boost your energy and mood while travelling. Take advantage of the hotel gym or your scenic surroundings!