Staying Healthy Abroad: Watch out for wild animals! I found that out in Africa. A board broke under me so I started falling into the river. It was snack time for hungry crocs! At the last second, I was pulled over the side of a boat!
That was my only close call in 66 countries! Here are my tips as you travel.
Staying Healthy Abroad: Tip1: Plan in Advance:
Before a trip abroad, I go to a travel clinic. Why plan ahead? Some shots are a series. Think if:
- You will be in a big city.
- You will be gone a long time.
- You will trek through jungles, or take a cooking class.
- If you travel with pills, keep them in the original bottle. Take a note from the doctor or pharmacy. I once took vitamins in an unmarked case. Worse yet, I did not see it was stuck in the lining of my purse when I sewed up a rip! Think how that looked at customs!
- Some places have laws against drugs legal at home. Do check this out online to avoid a jail term.Some have jail terms.
- Drugs vary abroad. It can be dangerous to use them.
- Check your health insurance. Does it work on trips? Read the fine print.
Staying Healthy Abroad: Tip 2: Risks from Animals/Insects:
I had a neighbor whose family member was killed by a lion. That is rare. The most dangerous animal tourists see are mosquitoes. Even Hawaii has had Dengue Fever carried by these wily bugs. That is also seen in the Caribbean and Central America. Zika and Malaria are borne by mosquitoes.
- In SE Asia, I was warned about monkeys on the prowl. I thought I would dodge them 24/7. The reality? I had to look hard to find monkeys for selfies!
- Watch out for domestic animals. One friend had rabies shots after a cat scratch in a cafe.
- While Malaria pills are key, they are not 100% effective. Be sure to take bug spray. Cover up. Early AM and PM are big snack times for mosquitoes. Some feed all day though. On safari, we wore socks and long sleeves and pants for dinner outdoors.
- I traded fashion for pre-treated shirts. You can also buy spray-on products.
- I have rescued 4 dogs. However, when abroad, I don’t pet strays.
Staying Healthy Abroad: Tip 3: Food/Water:
This can be lead to a serious illness. On a solo trip off the coast of Africa, I arrived in time for a cholera epidemic. I drank bottled water and did not get sick. Be aware even tea and coffee may not be safe. They need high heat for a length of time to kill germs. Dishes may have been washed with impure water.
- Drink only bottled drinks.
- Choose sealed bottles.
- Drink from the bottle. Glasses may not be safe.
- Pack snacks for tours.
- Order well-done meats.
- Eat what you can peel.
Staying Healthy Abroad: Tip 4: Airborne Risks:
I arrived in China for the Swine Flu epidemic. I was careful. However, I sat near someone with a cough. Although I did not get Swine Flu, I had a virus for 3 weeks. I missed a night out on the tour while I sat in my room with chills.
- When I fly, I tuck a mask in my purse. I have been too shy to wear it. In a crisis, I might!
- If you can, get away from the problem. On a train, I sat next to someone with a cough. I was able to move. To avoid appearing rude, I acted like I wanted a good view!
Staying Healthy Abroad: Tip 5: Accidents:
Watch out when you drive. Look when you cross the street. Be aware on mopeds. Sports injuries can also wreck a trip.
- Take it easy when you 1st arrive.
- If you rent a bike or car, have GPS. Check your route before you head out. If you are lost, you may not drive safely.
- Check out vendors for special activities. If you go up in a balloon or small plane, find out the company’s record.
How is staying healthy on travel different than at home? There are 3 things that differ: 1. fatigue/jet lag 2. unfamiliarity of local risks and 3. lack of immunity to regional diseases. My advice: Plan ahead. Use our 5 tips to stay healthy abroad. Be prepared and watch out for leering crocodiles!