Just because you’re traveling, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from getting sick. In fact, because you’re going to be exposed to more unsanitary scenarios and locations, you’re probably more at risk. But don’t let that put you off hopping on a plane or exploring the culinary delights of a new culture. There are precautions you can take which will make all your adventures safe and reduce the risk of you picking up something nasty. You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips that will help you stay well when you’re abroad.
But remember, if you’re planning a trip abroad, you need to invest in global medical insurance. Having this kind of cover when you’re travelling will mean that injuries, illness, dental emergencies and even transport to and from the nearest hospital will be covered. Don’t take the risk, if you don’t have medical insurance, arrange some now.
Wash your hands
It sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many sick days and illnesses could be avoided if we simply washed our hands more. Washing your hands reduces the risk of catching things like diarrhoea, vomiting bugs, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, flu and many more nasties. When travelling, you might come into contact with all kinds of unsanitary objects, much like at home – door handles, cutlery, a toilet, light switches and money. Make sure when you do wash your hands you’re washing with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds in order to kill off any nasty germs. Won’t have access to a sink and soap? Most travellers pack a small bottle of hand sanitizer and take it with them on their travels.
When abroad, travellers are advised not to drink the tap water. Even if it’s seemingly safe for locals, you should still be wary, as your stomach might not be able to handle it. Avoid things like ice and even salads and fruits that might have been washed in tap water.
Many advise to drink bottled water, but as this bad for the environment by contributing to the single use plastic problem, many travellers opt for a water bottle with a built in filter.
The single biggest cause of illness in travelers. From diarrhoea to salmonella, E. coli, cryptosporidium and many more, food contamination is where most of these originate from. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that you eat fresh, piping hot food that is – to the best of your culinary knowledge – cooked right through.
Street food is a great example of this as you can instantly see how clean the preparation and cooking areas are as well as seeing and smelling how fresh ingredients are. Look for things like, does the person handling the money use gloves to cook the food, or does someone else handle the money entirely? Are areas wiped down with clean cloths and how often to vendors wash their hands?
Be wary and use your common sense when traveling and you should stay out of trouble.
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