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Travel Tips

It's always important to take care of your health, whether you're at home or away but there are some extra points that are important to keep in mind when you're traveling.

Common Travel Troubles

Three of the most common health problems that you may experience while traveling are jet lags, altitude sickness, and diarrhea. When you fly across different time zones, the changes in the amount of light can change your internal body clock, resulting in a condition known as jet lag. Jet lags may cause some symptoms like upset stomach, insomnia and tiredness. There are certain ways to combat jet lag; for example; if you're traveling from west to east, you should stay out of the sun until the day after your arrival. And if you're flying from east to west, go for a brisk walk as soon as possible, once you arrive.

Safe Eats and Drinks

So what foods are safe to eat? Any food item that has been boiled is generally safe. Fruits and vegetables should be peeled before eating. Avoid eating uncooked or undercooked meat. You probably might have heard that you shouldn't drink the water in some countries overseas, but did you know why? Water supplies in many developing countries are not treated in the same way as seen in developed countries; various bacteria, viruses, and parasites are commonly found in the water. Many experts suggest you to drink only bottled water when traveling. If you need to use tap water, you should boil it first or purify it with an iodine tablet. Also, if you're brushing your teeth, rinsing contact lenses, drinking a small glass of water to wash down pills, or adding ice to your drink, first take precautions to ensure that the water is safe.

Things to Carry Along

When you're packing, you'll want to include any medications and other medical supplies you use on a daily basis because they may be hard to find in another country. Even if you do find them, there's a good chance that the formulations could be stronger or weaker than the ones you're used to. These may include any prescriptions you already take, such as inhalers, allergy medication, insulin, as well as contact lens cleaners and vitamins. Packing an over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and diarrhea medication is also a good idea. It's always better to pack some over-the-counter allergy medication even if you don't use them at home. People sometimes unexpectedly develop allergic reactions to the pollens and other allergens found in a new environment. Those with asthma or other allergies can unexpectedly react to these new substances.

Write It All Down

Even if you watch what you eat and drink and get enough rest while you're traveling, you may still feel sick. The good news is that you'll probably be able to find competent medical care. The key lies in knowing where to go. Most travel guides suggest you go to a hospital where English is spoken or U.S. -trained doctors can be found. For this reason, it's always a good idea to carry a written copy of your medical history with you.

Having such important information available in one place can help healthcare workers make appropriate decisions, and you won't have to worry about forgetting important information at a time when you're likely to be upset and not thinking clearly.

Before you leave your home, create a medical history form that includes the following information

  • Your name, mailing address, and home phone number as well as a parent's / family friends / relative's daytime phone number
  • Your blood group type
  • Immunization records
  • Your local doctor's name, address, and office and emergency phone numbers
  • The name, address, and phone number of your health insurance carrier, including your policy number
  • A list of any ongoing health problems such as heart disease, diabetes etc.
  • A list of current medications you are on
  • A list of medications for allergies from food, insects, and animals
  • A prescription for glasses or contact lenses

It may also help if you have some basic emergency medical knowledge, not only for yourself, but also for helping others with whom you may be traveling with. A great way to prepare for your trip is to take a first-aid kit or the basic life support course before you go; if you're traveling with a group, you should know where the first-aid kit is and what's in it.