Keeping healthy when travelling

If you require medication for any illness when travelling abroad always take enough supplies with you to last the duration of your trip. If you have to buy medication abroad always buy it from reputable sources in major cities, there is a world-wide problem with counterfeit and substandard medicines.

Mosquito nets are essential in areas where insect borne diseases are endemic. Also use a net for a comfortable nights’ sleep where insects can be nuisance.

If you have any doubts about the quality of tap water, drink, wash and clean your teeth in bottled or sterilised water. Also avoid ice in your drinks.

Eat fresh food that has been thoroughly cooked. Avoid salads and fruits, which you have not peeled yourself, also shellfish should never be eaten raw.

Avoid dehydration in hot climates by drinking as much fluid as possible, and avoid alcohol.

Use insect repellent on exposed skin and in rooms just before dusk. Also keep windows closed at night if possible.

Head nets use where insects are likely to swarm.

If you are in the desert or other hot places extra salt may be required. Do not use salt tablets, instead put extra salt on food.

Keep your skin well moisturised.

Keep your fingernails short.

Wash your hands regularly.

Treat all wounds no matter how small.

Overland travel health issues

When you arrive at a destination, it is worth making a trip to the local tourist office or asking a local who will more than likely know if you are entering a biting insect area. If you discover you are, utilise bite avoidance measures immediately, if you are unsure, use them anyway.

Health issues in cities

Cities are generally less affected by diseases from biting insects as rural areas but this is not always the case. There are always bed bugs and mosquitoes to be found in non-air conditioned hotel bedrooms. It is always better to sleep under a mosquito net even in non-disease risk areas.

Health issues in the jungle

Some Jungle and tropical regions of the world are the home of the most life-threatening insect-borne diseases. Mosquitoes are the main problem whilst ticks or chigger fleas can also cause some tropical diseases. Rigorous bite avoidance measures are essential as part of your daily routine. Ensure you take enough supplies for any travel off-the-beaten track keep in mind to reapply your repellent frequently. Always keep your repellent with you at all times.

Health issues in the desert

Where there is water there are insects. In dry areas, water holes are the main breeding ground for mosquitoes. You may find there may be other insects such as sand flies, which also carry diseases.

Health issues when trekking abroad

You will find trekking above 2000 metres is safe from malaria, as mosquitoes don’t tend to survive above this altitude . Repellent may be useful if you are camping around water.

This information is to complement and not replace the relationship with your family doctor. Always discuss your travel health requirements with your regular doctor or practice nurse.