The coronavirus outbreak in China has got us all worrying whether or not we’re doing enough to protect our health when we travel.
And the truth is unless you’re headed to somewhere where there’s a known outbreak of disease, like Wuhan, or traveling to a region that’s known for health issues like malaria or cholera, staying healthy might not be the first thing on your mind. You’re going to have fun!
A big mistake that we’ve all made when traveling is taking our health for granted. Sure, you might have been lucky most of the time and returned home in full health, but there’s no guarantee that’s always going to happen. And if you’re traveling to an exotic destination where your risk of contracting certain diseases is higher, being vigilant is even more important.
Keep these top tips in mind next time you travel to an exotic destination so that you can focus on having fun rather than spending your time recovering.
Get Any Necessary Vaccinations Before You Go
Vaccinations are the one best way to protect yourself against disease, and if there’s a vaccination available for a disease that you may be at high risk of contracting in the exotic location you plan to visit, you should definitely opt for it.
If you’re not sure whether or not a vaccine is the best option for you, the best action to take is to visit your doctor or a specialized travel clinic and ask if you need any special vaccinations before traveling to a certain location. A health professional will have more information on the diseases that you’re most at risk from, and how to prevent yourself from contracting them.
Remember – some vaccines may have a certain incubation period before you are immune, so it’s wise to schedule them for a good time before you head off.
Avoid the Local Tap Water
Regardless of where you go on vacation, avoiding the local tap water should always be a must when it comes to staying safe and healthy. This is even more important if you’re visiting an exotic destination; many exotic countries’ tap water is purely for washing with and is not at all safe for drinking. Never drink water if it wasn’t previously purified, there are so many bacteria lurking in contaminated water that your chances of not getting sick are very small. Some of the diseases like typhoid fever and E. coli are the most common. To stay safe make sure to get vaccinated before your trip. CDC recommends an oral typhoid vaccine, and the upside is that it will also give you partial protection from E. coli. Bear in mind that even in the countries where it’s technically safe to drink tap water, it might still upset your stomach due to the different balance of minerals and chemicals.
Sticking to bottled water is the easiest way to avoid any issues, but if you’re concerned about the price or the impact you’ll have on the environment, you might want to consider alternative options, like a filtration bottle.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Good hand hygiene is the number one step to take when it comes to protecting your health anywhere; not just when you are traveling. When you’re in an exotic destination where disease control might not be as stringent as it is back home, keeping your hands clean is even more important. Imagine how many people might have touched a surface before you do – and the germs that they might be spreading. When you touch your face or eat without washing your hands, you could end up contracting a virus or another nasty disease from somebody you’ve never met.
Soap and water is the best way to keep your hands clean; use basins wherever you can find them and if you find it useful, carry a small tube or bottle of hand wash around with you – anti-bacterial handwash is ideal. For backup, it’s a good idea to carry hand sanitizing gel with you everywhere. You can use this to sanitize your hands on the go, even when you don’t have access to soap and water.
Don’t spend your trip feeling sick; keep these tips in mind to protect your health and enjoy your stay.