My husband introduced me to the world of travel in my 20’s and I could not thank him enough. Before that I didn’t have a clue about all the health risks involved in visiting other countries! Incidentally in 2014, I began running a travel clinic at a Pharmacy which grew my knowledge of the health risks of travelling. The experiences so far have been priceless to say the least. It ignited a great passion for spreading advice to other travelers, young and old, to make sure they are healthy before, during and after their trip so they can enjoy travelling for as long as possible too!
Parents and their children, gap year students and adults taking a break from work. Seasoned elderly travelers with multiple vaccination books decades old. These are but a tiny selection of people I have had the pleasure of advising before their trips. Lets not forget the last-minute traveler who panics and rushes into the clinic the day before their flight!
The immersive experience of being away from home can never match up to the doctored Instagram posts we typically have plastered all over our social media accounts. Have you ever questioned what it took to get there and were the travelers wise enough to seek advice before they went?
Here are 5 reasons why you should seek travel health advice before you set off:
Malaria, Dengue Fever and Japanese Encephalitis are just a handful of life threatening diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes. You need to know if there will be mosquitoes when you travel, what diseases they carry and how to protect yourself from being bitten. The risk of being bitten is different during certain times of day. You should aim to plan your activities accordingly. Also, some diseases take a few days to manifest, like Chikungunya. It might not be flu, so be vigilant!
Learning how to recognise and treat bites is indispensable. Mosquitoes, spiders, bed bugs, snakes, dogs the list goes on! It would be good to know the difference and which creams to apply. Bites from animals can cause Rabies and that requires urgent medical attention. Finding your nearest treatment center on a map before you travel could save your life!
Yellow Fever is just one example of a vaccine that is needed to enter a country. It takes 10 days for a Yellow Fever certificate to become valid because you need that time to build immunity. Depending on your activities and vaccination history it’s so important to know the risks! I cannot stress enough how easy it is to avoid suffering terribly from diseases that are easily vaccinated against.
In certain countries there tend to be outbreaks that might restrict travel, such as Polio, and they may demand a vaccination certificate on arrival. Vaccination also offers protection from Hepatitis A and Typhoid which are carried in food and water. I could go on and on…
- Risky Activities
From riding a moped to sky diving, it would be wise to assess the risks involved in your holiday activities. For example, riding a moped without adequate skin coverage can give you burns. You want to prevent a burn becoming a full-blown skin infection. Minimal burns can cause scarring whereas serious burns can cause loss of sensation. Lets just say you want to get back home fully intact! Doing a risk assessment sounds boring and technical but you will stand in good stead for the upcoming events.
- Sun & Frost
The sun can cause your skin to burn which can be painful – always wear spf. However, most travelers forget heat causes dehydration and loss of essential salts too! Knowing your risk exposure to the sun and preparing adequately will pay dividends.
On the other extreme end of the scale there is cold weather. Frost bite? It would be difficult to ski or climb a mountain it! Pack with this in mind if you are at risk.
I could have listed 100 reasons but it would be a post that never ends! Stay tuned for updates on particular travel health risks and remedies.