How to Prevent 5 Common Travel Ailments
How to Prevent Common Travel Ailments
Guest post by: Sara from Survival First Aid Kits
The thought of travel usually conjures romantic notions of carefree fun, personal freedom, and cultural exchange. But as anyone who’s ever endured a bout of Bali belly will tell you the act of travelling is not always a joyride.
In some cases, exposure to unfamiliar foods, faces and places can result in unwelcome illness and disease. Before you head off into the sunset for your next travelling adventure, pack sensibly and prepare for these five common travel ailments.
1. Prevent Common Travel Ailments: Everyday scratches, paper cuts & blisters
It’s always wise to have a basic portable first aid kit handy when travelling. The minor cuts and scratches that barely faze us on a day-to-day basis are supremely annoying when they happen on the road. If left untreated, those small wounds can rapidly advance into serious infections. Whether you cut your finger on a boarding pass or blister up breaking in your new hiking shoes, you’ll be glad you thought to bring along an assortment of first aid items, including bandages, band aids, adhesive tape and antiseptic liquid.
2. Prevent Common Travel Ailments: A bad case of Tourist aka traveller’s diarrhea
There’s one very good reason why travellers are often warned not to drink the water. Approximately 1 in 2 citizens travelling to Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East experiences traveller’s diarrhea. When travelling in developing countries, even the most resilient digestive systems are susceptible to E. coli bacterial infections.
Some resort to antibiotics to combat the symptoms of tourist, but grapefruit seed extract is a remarkably effective natural remedy. Seasoned travellers never leave home without their grapefruit seed extract. Just a few drops in your drinking water each day will help stave off all sorts of nasty microorganisms, including E.coli.
Maybe also refer to carrying hydralyte to rehydrate you as this must be in any overseas first aid kit.
3. Prevent Common Travel Ailments: Dehydration
Water is the source of life. When travel advisories say ‘Don’t drink the water’, they don’t mean ‘ Don’t drink any water’. It’s usually a warning against drinking dubious tap water. It’s important to stay well hydrated when flying and participating in dynamic travel activity.
If the local water supply is deemed unsafe for consumption, you can opt for cheap bottled water but the environmental impact of plastic bottles might weigh on your conscience. Pop a travelsize water purifier (or water purification tablets) in your compact travel first aid kit. It can provide clean, safe water, without destroying the environment along the way.
4. Prevent Common Travel Ailments: Beware of insect bites and stings
If you think ittybitty insects are harmless, think again. Beyond the initial discomfort and irritation, insect bites and stings can lead to painful skin infections and diseases like the Zika virus. In many countries, insects and mosquitoes transmit a wide range of diseases, some fatal. Before travelling to an unfamiliar country, do some research and check with the Centers for Disease Control and your doctor to see if vaccines are recommended.
When packing your bags, include an insect repellent containing DEET that can be sprayed on exposed skin and clothing. Or buy clothing that already has insect repellant in it. But, don’t make the repellent do all the work. Figure out the biting habits of mosquitoes and adapt your travel schedule accordingly. The malaria transmitting mosquito, for example, is most active at night and is drawn to dark clothing and fragrant perfumes. The dengue fever transmitting mosquito, on the other hand, tends to bite in the early morning and late afternoon.
5. Prevent Common Travel Ailments: Combat jetlag with natural remedy
Flying to faraway destinations is not always as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be in those curated Instagram snaps. Long haul flights can take a serious toll on your sleep patterns, causing fatigue and jet lag. Experienced travellers often pack melatonin in their carry on, to protect against the effects of jet lag.
When we cross one or more time zones, the body’s circadian rhythms (also known as sleep and wake cycle) tend to be disrupted, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or stay awake during the daytime. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that the body makes to regulate the cycle of sleeping and waking. By taking melatonin, you can effectively ‘reset’ your circadian rhythms.
Keep yourself hydrated during the flight and remember…
Beyond packing smart, travel insurance is always recommended as a safeguard against unexpected emergency medical expenses. Few things in life are more distressing than the prospect of falling dangerously ill in an unfamiliar place, without adequate insurance coverage.
Have you survived any nasty bouts of disease or illness while travelling? Share your experiences and remedies in the comments section below.
Sara is the marketing strategist of Survival First Aid Kits, Australia’s leading provider of first aid products for the home, workplace, vehicle and outdoors. Their Emergency First Aid Handbook is the only book to win the Australian Design Award and has sold over 2 million copies.