- 1 Everything you need to know not to let a sudden fever or a cold ruin your holiday
- 1.1 1. Search information about vaccination needed
- 1.2 2. Meals
- 1.3 3. Eat something familiar once in a while
- 1.4 4. Pay attention to the water you drink
- 1.5 5. Say no to ice cubes
- 1.6 6. Movement is the key
- 1.7 7. Wash hands carefully with soap and water
- 1.8 8. Beware of the streams
- 1.9 9. Avoid contact with animals
- 1.10 10. Beware of insects
- 1.11 11. Protect your body from the sun
Everything you need to know not to let a sudden fever or a cold ruin your holiday
Reading time: 10 minutes
One of the most unpleasant things in the world is getting sick during the long-awaited trip and lock yourself in a hotel room. Getting sick is part of everyday life and being on the go does not guarantee that you will be 100% immune. On the contrary, you are exposed to insects, environments, climatic conditions, totally different habits and consequently more likely to suffer from sudden flu and illness.
The first recommendation is to research in advance the most common diseases in that specific destination and get information about mandatory vaccination. Rimember to take out health insurance that covers all travel-related risks and for any doubt, contact your doctor who can help you.
Better safe than sorry.
You can avoid many problems and inconveniences by taking appropriate precautions while you are abroad, especially hygienic issues cannot be neglected. Prevention is better than cure.
Follow our tips to avoid getting sick while traveling:
1. Search information about vaccination needed
Before leaving, be sure about mandatory or optional vaccinations to do, check if those made in the past require a booster dose. Remember to include the list of the vaccinations you made, any allergies and the blood type in your documents.
The most common health problems among travelers are diarrhea and intestinal infections. In most cases, they come from contaminated food, drinking water and beverages. What could you do to avoid infections?
- do not let the ice cream tempt you if you do not know where it comes from;
- street food should be avoided due to the poor hygienic conditions of the food;
- do not eat cooked dishes that have been kept for several hours at ambient temperature;
- eat only well-cooked and still hot dishes as well as fruit and vegetables that can be peeled.
Whenever possible, bring with you a pocket knife and a fork to use when the cutlery is not hygienically perfect. This can reduce the probability of getting sick and limit the consumption of disposable cutlery. Read our article on how to protect the planet from plastic.
3. Eat something familiar once in a while
Eating local food and deepening the local cuisine is one of the true pleasures of the journey, but if your stomach is not used to it, you may experience some form of gastrointestinal disorder. If you have a sensitive stomach, try new dishes and don’t be afraid to eat family food once in a while.
4. Pay attention to the water you drink
When you’re not sure of the purity of the local water or you’re traveling to areas where sanitation isn’t very developed, it would be better to avoid tap water. Even if local residents drink it without worrying, your stomach may not have developed the correct immune defenses to protect you from bacteria.
Use mineral water to drink and brush your teeth. It is often undervalued advice but can really limit the danger of infection. Carbonated water contains carbonic acid and has a bactericidal effect. If you do not have mineral water at hand, boil the water for at least 10 minutes to eliminate viruses and bacteria.
Tea, coffee, wine and beer are safe drinks if served in clean glasses. Remember to clean cans before opening.
5. Say no to ice cubes
Even if in the hot summer days you feel like having an iced drink, don’t let ice cubes tempt you, they could be contaminated. To cool the drinks, dip the bottle in ice water. In the case of milk, better to boil it before use: hot drinks tend to be safer. Always carry a reusable thermal bottle with you to keep your drinks chilled for 24 hours and your beverage hot for 12 hours.
6. Movement is the key
One of the best ways to stay fit, healthy and prevent infections is exercise. In addition to improving overall health and wellness, movement strengthens the immune system that makes you less vulnerable to disease. Always try to maintain a healthy lifestyle even while traveling. If you are not a lover of sport and movement, start during the journey! Take a walk in the mountains, a ride in the countryside, a jog on the seashore – whatever comes to mind as long as it is outdoors and makes you happy.
7. Wash hands carefully with soap and water
It sounds like a recommendation for kids but do not overlook it. It is a good idea to bring a small bar of soap and a pocket hand towel. In public toilets, instead of using disposable tissues or hand dryers that contain myriads of bacteria, bring your own towel. Avoid walking barefoot in hotel rooms or hostels and use waterproof slippers to take shower. In case you forgot, plastic bags or shower caps can replace them. Little attention can prevent fungus and warts.
8. Beware of the streams
Do not bathe in freshwaters (rivers and lakes), in areas of the sea near sewers, in stagnant waters (marshes, canals and ponds) and do not walk barefoot. Use the pools only if the hygienic conditions appear good, protective goggles and a cap can hinder the contact with germs. Lie down on the floor always using the mat or towel. Even the water used for showering is not always safe: it could be contaminated with bacteria and viruses that cause intestinal infections. Try not to swallow water when swimming or bathing.
9. Avoid contact with animals
In addition to the injuries caused by animal bites, you could take the risk of contracting rabies through spittle. The greatest risk of hiking on unlit trails after a storm is being bitten by disturbed or trampled snakes. High footwear can protect you from animal bites and good trekking poles can substitute bare hands. Before putting on your shoes, make sure there are no insects or scorpions inside. In case of bites or scratches from animals, contact your doctor immediately.
Some useful tips to avoid being hit by poisonous animals:
- ask advice to local people or experienced travelers;
- avoid places where dangerous animals are likely to hide;
- wear closed boots or shoes in areas where snakes are common;
- keep your shoes sheltered and check them before wearing them.
10. Beware of insects
When traveling in a tropical country, the risk of contracting mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases is extremely high. Some of these diseases can develop rapidly leading to serious consequences. These precautions can really make a difference:
- wears clothes that cover the whole body, especially arms and legs (long pants, long sleeves, shoes and socks) especially at dawn and dusk.
- avoid too fragrant perfume, aftershave and dark clothes that attract mosquitoes.
- sprinkle insect repellent on clothes and all exposed skin except on hands that could come into contact with eyes and mouth.
- make sure there are no mosquitos in the room and if possible put a mosquito net full of repellent around the bed. Turn on the air conditioning if provided.
11. Protect your body from the sun
Spending too much time in the sun increases the risk of sunburn and heatstroke that could seriously ruin your travel experience! Remember to use a good sunscreen cream and avoid doingoutdoor activities during the hottest hours of the day. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, increase the consumption of table salt and do not take caffeine or alcohol that could lead to faster dehydration. If you travel to a particularly warm country, cover yourself with cotton or linen clothes and use light colors.
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