Many of us living in the GCC choose to travel to other countries to get away from the blistering heat here during the summer. While we may be prepared for the journey with the right documents, clothes and currency, many of us fail to pay attention to potential health hazards that we might face when travelling. Here are a few common health issues that you might face when you travel for the summer and steps you can take to either prevent them or minimize their impact
Jet lag can be a serious issue, especially if you have travelled a long way. You will find yourself wide awake at midnight and really drowsy at noon. Though there is no instant remedy for jet lag, bright light and a shot of caffeine can help keep you awake during the day while using dim lights and a soothing cup of cocoa would be a good idea if you want to nap.
This is a common issue that many travelers face, especially when families travel with young children. The food in the country that you travel to might have higher spice levels and may not always be hygienically prepared, especially if you have a penchant for eating from street vendors.
It is important to ensure that the food you eat is always thoroughly cooked and to refrain from drinking tap water. Avoid dodgy restaurants where the environment seems to be dirty.
In the event that you do end up with diarrhea in spite of taking precautions, make sure that you drink plenty of water and electrolytes. If you are running a high fever or there is blood in your stool, you might need to see a doctor and get antibiotics.
Many guided tours involve a lot of walking to visit places of interest and to do shopping. Heat and friction while walking can cause blisters which can make walking uncomfortable. It is important to refrain from taking along new shoes for your trip. Use shoes that are sturdy, have been broken in and fit well. Use good moisturizers and keep the skin hydrated to minimize skin abrasion.
Transitioning quickly from the hot climate here to a relatively colder country can affect your health and so can many viruses that can cause coughs and colds. While rest, taking in plenty of fluids, nasal decongestants and paracetamol can take care of minor coughs and colds, the key is to know when you need a doctor’s assistance. You do not want to wind up being struck with pneumonia in a foreign land.
Many women hesitate to use strange toilets and while travelling prefer to return to their hotels to use the toilet. Holding urine can lead to either urinary urgency where they find themselves unable to hold urine or hesitancy where they try to urinate, but are unable to do so. Complications occur when the bladder infection spreads to the kidneys, causing fever and back pain. Before the situation worsens, it would be wiser to get medical assistance. Generally, a course of antibiotics should help cure urinary infections.
The key factors to help prevent urinary infections is paying scrupulous attention to hygiene and handwashing, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to use the toilet when needed instead of holding urine. Cranberry juice is a popular remedy for mild urinary tract infections.
There is nothing that can ruin a trip more than a nagging toothache or dental issue like loose fillings. It would be a good idea to visit your dentist before you travel to ensure all is fine you’re your teeth and gums, especially if you are going to be gone for a while.
Mild toothaches can be treated with clove oil or paracetamol. Warm salt water rinses can help keep your mouth clean if cavities are an issue and it would be wise to get to your dentist as soon as you return.
Cuts and bruises can occur, especially if you are on an adventurous trip where the terrain is a bit rough. Pack a topical antibiotic cream to ensure any cuts remain free of infection and irrigate wounds with plenty of soap and running water. If the inflammation increases, visit the doctor.
Mosquitoes are carriers of many diseases like dengue, malaria and yellow fever. You need to be on the lookout for mosquito bites, especially if you are travelling to Asia and Africa. It would be a good idea to wear clothing that covers your body at all times. Use mosquito nets if you plan to go camping and take mosquito repellent along.
Switching from a life that is mostly sedentary to one that is full of activity can take its toll, especially if you are on the older side. Sleeping uncomfortably while travelling, carrying baggage and lots of walking can lead to aches and pains. Ibuprofen and aspirin are must haves for every traveler.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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