TRAVEL HEALTH AND ILLNESS


One of the worst things that can happen while you’re travelling overseas is to get sick. Colds, allergies, sunburn, stomach upsets, and strained or sore muscles are just some of the minor problems that take the edge off enjoying a holiday. What often makes it worse is that medical care in other countries may not be the same as at home; or if it is, the cost can be a killer (e.g. a visit to a doctor in the USA can cost well over $100). However, there are a few things that can be done to minimise these problems:

Be prepared
Always take the basics with you, such as band-aids, sun screen, and antiseptic cream.

In dry climates (including deserts or high altitudes), the skin can dry out easily, and the lips crack. Be prepared by taking lip balm and skin moisturiser. Also visit your doctor at least six weeks prior to travelling overseas for their advice on what medical precautions, such as immunisations, to take. If you have pre-existing health problems consult with your doctor as to they best ways to deal with such problems while overseas. Before taking any drugs (non-prescription or prescription, and vitamins) check with your travel agent, or Dept of Foreign Affairs, to see what regulations may apply in any overseas destinations you are visiting.

Taking out overseas health insurance for the duration of the trip can also save you a lot of money, and may ensure a higher quality medical treatment.

Stretch
When you travel long distances, you can easily become stiff and develop sore muscles through lack of exercise. Sleeping in unfamiliar beds can also create problems. Regular stretching, or an occasional massage during an extended trip, can be a life-saver, helping maintain mobility and minimising muscle and joint problems. Get some advice before leaving from a fitness instructor, physiotherapist or chiropractor.

Motion Sickness
Many people suffer from this when they travel on boats, planes or even buses. You can get various medications (eg. ginger tablets) that will help settle the stomach, (but make sure having such medications is allowed in each country you are visiting). Psychological treatments such as hypnosis can also help. If you massage heavily under your lower ribs, this can help settle mild cases of an upset stomach. The best treatment though is to ensure you are relaxed and stress free before you commence travel.

Optimise Your Health Before Starting
Generally when you are in your normal routine (eating, sleeping and exercising), your body is coping well with life. When you commence a trip, everything changes at once – you eat differently, your sleeping habits change, and you experience different types of stress. Your body will cope much better with the change if you are well and reasonably fit right from the start. A visit to the dentist at least a month prior to travelling to make sure your teeth are in good condition can also save some suffering (pain & payments) while travelling.

Take Vitamins On The Trip
These will keep your anti-oxidant levels high and will help keep you in peak condition, especially if your diet changes significantly and you’re not eating as much fresh fruit and veggies as you would normally have at home.

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