Travel health depends on your predaparture preparations, your
day-to-day health care while traveling and how you handle
any medical problem or emergency that does develop. While
the list of potential dangers can seem quite frightening,
with a little luck, some basic precautions and adequate information,
few travelers experience more than upset stomachs.
in what you eat and drink is the most important health rule;
stomach upsets are the most likely travel health problem (between
30% and 50% of travelers in a two week stay experience these)
but the majority of these upsets will be relatively minor.
Don't become paranoid; trying the local food is part of the
experience of travel, after all.
number one rule is don't drink the water and that includes
ice. If you don't know for certain that the water is safe
always assume the worst. Reputable brands of bottled water
or soft drinks are generally fine, although in some places
bottles refilled with tap water are not unknown. Only use
water from containers with a serrated seal not tops or corks.
Take care with fruit juice, particularly if water may have
been suspicion, as it is often unpasteurised. Boiled milk
is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is always good.
Tea or coffee should also be OK, since the water should have
In the desert, the tropics or at high altitude you can get
sunburnt surprisingly quickly, even through cloud. Use a sunscreen
and take extra care to cover areas, which don't normally see
sun, such as your feet. A hat provides added protection, and
you should also use zinc cream or some other barrier cream
for your nose and lips. Calamine lotion is good for mild sunburn.
heat is an itchy rash caused by excessive perspiration trapped
under the skin. It usually strikes people who have just arrived
in a hot climate and whose pores have not yet opened sufficiently
to cope with greater sweating. Keeping cool by bathing often,
using a mild talcum powder or even resorting to air-conditioning
may help until your acclimatize.
or salt deficiency can cause heat exhaustion. Take time to
acclimatize to high temperatures and make sure you get sufficient
liquids. Wear loose clothing and a broad-brimmed hat. Do not
do anything too physically demanding. Salt deficiency is characterized
by fatigue, lethargy, headaches, giddiness, and muscle cramps
and in this case salt tablets may help. Vomiting or diarrhoea
can deplete your liquid and salt levels. Anhydrotic heat exhaustion,
caused by an inability to sweat, is quite rare. Unlike the
other forms of heat exhaustion, it is likely to strike people
who have been in a hot climate for some time, rather than
serious, sometimes fatal, condition can occur if the body's
heat-regulating mechanism breaks down and the body temperature
rises to dangerouslevels. Long, continuous periods of exposure
to high temperatures can leave you vulnerable to heat stroke.
You should avoid excessive alcohol or strenuous activity when
you first arrive in a hot climate.
symptoms are feeling unwell, not sweating very much or at
all and a high body temperature (39 degree C to 41 degree
C or 102 degree F to 106 degree F). Where sweating has ceased
the skin becomes flushed and red. Severe, throbbing headaches
and lack of co-ordination will also occur, ands the sufferer
may be confused or aggressive. Eventually the victim will
become delirious or convulse. Hospitalisation is essential,
but in the interim get victims out of the sun, remove their
clothing, cover them with a wet sheet or towel and then fan