HEALTH TIPS WHEN TRAVELLING: avoiding the Cheryl Cole and more…

Holidays can be risky! If you don’t prepare before and take precautions while you are away.

This was illustrated by the UK nation’s current favourite Girl band Singer and X-Factor judge: Cheryl Cole. The singer did not think to check out what she needed to do and did not take anti-malaria tablets while in Tanzania. The unfortunate gal got malaria and ended up in Intensive Care and a long period of remedy, risking her career commitments.

Last December, I too found out how things can go wrong health wise when I broke my ankle while away in Brussels for a weekend visiting Christmas Markets. I had not taken my EU Health Card to get free treatment, but did have good holiday insurance and so I was paid out some of the expenses and importantly for a South Aftican holiday I had to cancel as could not fly with a cast on.

my broken ankle brussels

So as the holiday season starts, here are some tips and advice on preparing and taking care health wise. There are zillions of good tips and advice sites, and for many if you going somewhere exotic check with the Foreign Office or your own countries advice site on where to avoid and why.

Then assuming the place you going is physically safe, here are some health tips:

(1) Before you go: inject to protect

There is no substitute for good preparation. Do your research and ensure you get all the vaccinations you need. Your local surgery nurse will be able to help, as will the NHS and FCO websites if you UK. Be sure to stock up on prescription drugs, and some standard painkillers and antiseptic while you still know exactly what you are buying ina language you understand (hopefully!)

(2) Fun in the sun

Everyone knows that high factor sun screens are the only way to go, along with hats, UVB sunglasses and head to foot cotton, but when it really comes down to it there is no substitute for staying in the shade. I love Piz Buin sun care, and have now weaned myself off the low factor and into the high factors. I shoudl (of course) also be encouraging RoC Soleil Protection + (the brand I look after if you in a Western European country as it is sold ther in Pharmacies!)

(3)  Bugs! Not the spy kind but the Four, six and eight legged friends

Avoid them all! Your best bet on holiday is to steer well clear of teeth, pincers and claws. Cover up at dusk to avoid bites, don’t feed the monkeys (as I saw the risks on my last holiday in Zambia!). One thing I keep forgetting to take with me is anti-bug spray and best to take as many stink and not only scare away the bugs but your partner too! (Unless you want to of course….)
And of course as mentioned, unlike Cheryl Cole check onlien and get medical advice and ensure you take preventative medication if needed. Be sure to cover up with socks, scarves and long sleeves to avoid infectious insect bites. There are some really good traveller clinics about, and I found the best are the ones that cater for backpackers as they seem to better understand the risks and the ebst things to take – and as anti-malaria tablets are really expensive and can make soem people feel very odd and a bit “trippy” they are the best to see.

(4) Travellers’ diarrhoea
The thing people don’t like to talk about. But as I found out once in Egypt, best to plan ahead on this one too! The least glamorous and most common holiday complaint is the dreaded traveller diarrhoea. Everyone has experienced tummy troubles abroad, but they need not spoil your holiday. A few precautions, and judicious application of diarrhoea treatment tablets, will see you through.

Immodium, the famous tablets advise this:

“Preventing traveller diarrhoea
Hand sanitizing gels are your first defence against a runny stomach. Always wash your hands and/or sanitize before cooking or eating. Use bottled water and avoid raw foods that are washed in water like salad, undercooked meats and ‘street food’. Also beware of ice – bottled drinks are your safest bet.

Dealing with tummy troubles
Don’t panic – pack diarrhoea tablets and use them when needed. They are particularly indispensible if you have a journey to make and toilets are not always at hand. Always read the label and remember to rehydrate with water and rehydration salts, or sports drinks if you have diarrhoea.”

On their site they have this travel hotspot thing:

Find out more about Travellers’ Diarrhoea

What are your tips? Add a comment on the blog or email and I will add: [email protected]

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