Health Warning: 10 Mistakes Most People Make When Travelling
Traveling is so much fun until something happens like sickness, getting bitten by something or just some very simple annoyance occurs which ruins your trip. One of the best things you can do is to learn what not to do and realise that a little prevention goes a long way. I have outlined 10 mistakes that most people make and how you can avoid a catastrophe by simply using preventive measures.
One thing I would never leave home without is hand sanitiser. You see, here is the thing: Most of our diseases come via our nose, mouth and eyes – so how does it get to there? From our hands! Most people never stop to think about being out and about, touching things, picking up things and inspecting them and then touching our face. You will not always have access to soap and water so pull out that hand sanitizer and put it to use! Remember this especially when shaking people’s hands, you never know where those hands have been! Just sayin’!!
Drink Bottled Water
I practice this the world over even in countries where they tell me that it is safe to drink tap water. One thing that it is always good to remember is that when you go abroad it is already a shock to the system so, drinking water that is clean and healthy is an absolute must! While you are drinking bottled water, do not forget that ice comes from tap water. So, if you like your ice, better to avoid it all costs when traveling as you never know what water was used to make it and it does have to melt! By the way, do drink a lot of water as it will help keep you from suffering with dehydration especially in places where it is very hot and humid.
Not only can you get a lot of diseases through your face via your hands, one of the big mistakes that people make is not wearing shoes, especially when visiting a beach town. Diseases also come up through your feet; walking in streets where people spit, animals urinate, and many other things I care not to imagine can cause ill health. One of the worst things you can do is to walk through water, even when it looks clean. Wear your shoes and you will avoid a lot of health risks.
I always make sure I know about any health risks of a country before traveling especially when going to areas which are heavily mosquito-populated. A shot only hurts a little while and then it is over and it could save you from getting seriously ill while traveling overseas. Mosquito bites bring on malaria in many cases and some people are allergic to them as well. As a matter of fact, some countries make it a requirement in order to enter the country. For example, my husband and I traveled to Ghana, Africa two years ago and we had to have a yellow fever injection two weeks before leaving our country of England. We even had to show the shot record upon arrival. Always check before entering a country.
First Aid Kit
An absolute must for every traveler. Different countries or even local cities may or may not carry things that you need in an emergency as it depends on where you are at the time. Having a kit packed with all of the essential such as, band-aids, scissors, tweezers for tick removal or any other insect necessary, gauze, and basic headache pills and antiseptics will put your mind at ease.
Having traveled all of my life, inevitably you will end up going somewhere where you do not really like the food. The first thing you are inclined to do is to refrain from eating and then you begin to dehydrate which can then lead to health issues. A very wise old traveler used to tell me from a young age, always carry something familiar with you from home to eat, like granola bars, health bars, fruit bars – even chocolate bars. This is because if you should get sick, this gives you an opportunity to eat something you are used to eating. After all, many times once you get to that point, what your body needs is nutrition from something that you will enjoy so you can start to recuperate.
Some of the sickest people that I have seen are those who thought that it was perfectly fine to be out in the sun with no sunscreen. It really does not matter what skin colour you are, you can still burn and end up very sick. The first thing is to investigate how close a country is to the equator and if you are going to be on the coast, then you will know how heavily exposed to the sun you are going to be. You should use an SPF 15 or greater and always check the expiration date. The other thing to keep in mind is to not be out in the hottest part of the day which is between 11am – 3pm.
Unless you are used to eating the food from this particular area or country, avoid eating out in the street at all costs. All of us have stomachs that adjust to the way we eat and how we feed it. If, for example, you are used to eating processed food and microwaveable food, eating lots of fresh produce, fruit and other ingredients can make you sick very much in the same way one can become very ill when the opposite occurs. In some countries, the health restrictions are not very strict, therefore, you could be eating food which has not been chilled properly, or not been cleaned properly. Even eating off of a plate or with silverware that has been washed in dirty water can greatly affect your health. Be smart and eat where you know exactly how the food was prepared (where and when).
What kind of health insurance do you have and can it be used overseas? The best thing you can do is to call and let them know where you will be going and find out what exactly will happen if there is a serious injury or accident. Find out if you will be transported back to your home country and/or what hospitals and doctors they work with in that country. What is the procedure when an emergency occurs? It is always good to know this so that you can relax and know that you will still be well taken care of.
Finally, Be Alert
The idea of traveling somewhere is to get away and be able to relax and enjoy yourself. It is very hard to do that if you are not aware of your surroundings. When we go into a place we always check out the area around our hotel or wherever we will be staying. We find out about any stores or restaurants and pharmacies. It is just smart to be alert and aware of what is going on around you and to have emergency numbers in your wallet or purse/handbag.
My husband and I personally love to travel and while we are never paranoid, we try to follow all of the above guidelines to ensure that we have a great time and a healthy time. Always be wise and then you can go and have a great time knowing all is well.
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