Health Tips For Happy Travel: Imagine travelling through an unknown country while suffering a bad case of malaria. Or, being stuck in a rural hamlet miles away from the nearest hospital. Try and conceive of yourself fighting diarrhoea but not knowing the local name for your all-purpose diarrhoea medication. Think about how you would feel if you had an STD but could not talk the native language and explain what medical help you require. In all seriousness, it can’t be very pleasant trying to explain Gonohorrea in Swahili or Mandarin. Here’s a little handy guide for travellers who might be leaving for strange shores.
All you really need is a few precautionary measures to make your holiday rewarding rather than wretched. Follow them and you’ll be doing sightseeing not contemplating the world from your grimy hospital bed. Just check out this statistic; between 30-50% of travellers report stomach upsets when they travel for about a fortnight. Indeed, a minor stomach upset is probably the most likely travel health problem that will hit you.
Health Tips For Happy Travel
So, before you panic and pack in tonnes of tinned stuff and avoid local food like the plague, stop!! Don’t press the panic button. Just take a little care and that little colicky thing will vamoose faster than you can say, “Holiday”.
That thing is called H2O Water
Water is everywhere but not a drop to drink. It’s a commonly acknowledged fact that you often land up in places where the water is of highly dubious quality. It might even have, solely for your visual entertainment, little blobs of unidentifiable matter and uncertain colour floating around. If so, let it be used to water some nearby plants. If you are in doubt, err on the side of caution. Continue to water the plant life in your vicinity.
Remember, avoid ice also. You could make do with bottled water or aerated drinks, but in such cases, make sure such bottles have serrated seals. Invariably, bottles are recycled and the water/aerated drink is nothing more than (ugh! Do I dare say it?) tap water. And we all know, who’s going to be laid up on their hospital beds then? And this might sound silly (though I know of people who do it) but if you are very particular, use bottled water to brush your teeth and gargle.
Other Liquid Refreshments
Yum, that sugarcane juice looks divine. And don’t you just wish you could have a sip of pineapple juice? Watch out; fruit juices often contain water of uncertain provenance. “Milk, milk, though- everyone loves milk”. Well not quite. Unpasteurised milk could mean some very nasty germs enter your system. If you have a milk craving, then make sure to first boil the milk. Tea and coffee with milk and water should be fairly OK since everything gets – our favourite word again – boiled.
I’m thirsty, Help! As we were saying, there’s one very good word you should remember- BOIL. Filtering by itself does not kill off the germs. So, either boil the water vigorously for at least five minutes or treat it chemically. Iodine and Chlorine tablets can be used to kill many germs and are fairly effective. However, they are fairly strong and need to be treated with respect. Here’s what the Bible of all travel veterans and amateurs, “The Lonely Planet Guide” has to say on the subject of purifying water such that you don’t wake up with weird spots or rashes on your body (or worse): “If you can’t find tablets, tincture of iodine (2%) or iodine crystals can be used.
Four drops of tincture of iodine per litre or a quart of clear water are the recommended dosage; the treated water should be left to stand for 20 to 30 minutes before drinking. Iodine crystals can also be used to purify water but this is a more complicated process, as you have to first prepare a saturated iodine solution. Iodine loses its effectiveness if exposed to air or dampness; so keep it in a tightly sealed container.” In hot climates – India in summer – it is wise to constantly drink fluids.
The water level in your body needs to be replenished all the time. So don’t wait till you feel thirsty to reach out for some H2O. One warning sign that you are dehydrated is not having the urge to go the bathroom and/or passing very dark, yellow urine. In which case, drink water for all you’re worth….. Always carry a bottle of water with you, especially on long trips. Excessive sweating often causes your muscles to cramp because you are losing salt. So, try and maintain the salt balance by taking salt in your food.
Also Read: Water Is No Less Than A Medicine