Food and Water:
It is vitally important to be careful about what you eat and drink while abroad as your digestive system may not be able to handle food which is native to the country you are visiting. In countries where sanitation and hygiene are poor it is advised to steer clear of shellfish, raw vegetables, unpeeled fruit, salads, food on street stalls, tap water and ice. Always make sure that your food is fully cooked and drink bottled water. Remember: BOIL it, COOK it, PEEL it, or FORGET it! Use bottled water when brushing your teeth as using tap water can also lead to illness. If you do experience diarrhoea, increase your fluid intake and take anti-diarrhoea tablets. Dehydration is the most important problem associated with diarrhoea. Increase your intake of water and seek medical advice if necessary.
Always use sun-cream or sun-block when you are out in the sunshine, regardless of your skin-type. Children and people with fair skin are particularly at risk so cover up. Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm as this is the hottest and most dangerous time of the day for harmful UV rays. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your head, skin and eyes. Drink plenty of water to avoid over-heating and dehydration. Chosing Sunscreen: Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays. The ideal product will have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Always read the product labels. Look for a waterproof brand if you will be sweating or swimming. Buy a no-sting product or one specifically formulated for your face. Choose a brand that does not contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) if you are sensitive to that ingredient. Try a sunscreen with different chemicals if your skin reacts badly to the one that you are using. Use a water-based sunscreen if you have oily skin or are prone to acne. Be aware that more expensive does not mean better. Be aware of the expiration date because some sunscreen ingredients might degrade over time.
Mosquitoes are not only annoying but they are dangerous too. Many diseases can be contracted from mosquito bites, so repellent is a must. Other insects can also be harmful so make sure you bring antihistamine tablets and cream to soothe any bites. Wear long sleeves and trousers at night to avoid being bitten. Use insect repellent. Use plug-in insecticide vaporisers or burn coils to ward off insects. Use mosquito nets if needed.
Jet-lag occurs when you are on a long-haul flight and have to pass through different time-zones. Your body rhythm can become skewed and it can take a while before you adjust to the new time difference. Generally it takes one day to recover for every hour time difference. Symptoms of jet-lag include headache, feeling fatigued, suffering from mood disturbances, anorexia, or gastrointestinal symptoms. To combat jet lag, make sure you have two or three good nights’ sleep before travelling. While on the flight avoid alcohol, set your watch to the destination time and try to sleep and eat at times synchronised with your destination. Once you arrive, get some exercise and try to stay awake until the destination’s night-time, as this will help your body to adjust faster.
Deep Vein Thrombosis;
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that can develop in a deep vein, usually in the thigh or calf, but can also occur elsewhere. It has been found to develop in people who are confined to small spaces or who have to sit down for long periods of time. To protect yourself from developing deep vein thrombosis when travelling on long-haul flights: Always get up and move around, this will help your circulation and protect you from forming blood clots. Bend and straighten your arms, legs, feet and toes as much as possible. Make sure you are as comfortable as possible in your seat. Take a few walks up and down the plane to stretch your legs. Wear properly fitting flight socks. Drink lots of water. Avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you. Avoid sleeping pills.
Think about where you are swimming, even if you are a strong swimmer. Seek local advice and try to swim only where the area is supervised. Supervise children near water at all times. If you are swimming in a pool, make sure you know how deep it is. If you are in the sea, bear in mind that this can be risky, as unexpected strong currents can have disastrous consequences. Jellyfish, sharks and other dangerous creatures may be lurking so make sure you are fully informed of the risks. Listen to the advice of locals and do not swim alone.
In Case of Illness:
Always have details of the nearest medical clinic or hospital in case of emergency. Your insurance company may provide a telephone number to contact in an emergency - make sure you keep a copy of the number with you. If your illness is very serious contact your local embassy or consulate for further advice. Stay calm and try to explain the problem to your doctor as best you can.
Hay fever symptoms frequently include nasal congestion, a clear runny nose, sneezing, nose and eye itching, and excess tear production in the eyes. Grass pollen is spread by the wind and as it is inhaled, it lodges in the nasal lining tissues and initiates the allergic response. Many patients respond to antihistamines. The first-generation antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine (Piriton) frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness as side effects. Newer, so-called "non-sedating" or second-generation antihistamines are also available. These include loratadine (Clarityn) and cetirizine (Zirtek or Cetrine).
In general, this group of antihistamines have a slower onset of action, are longer acting, and induce less sleepiness. Decongestants help control allergy symptoms but not their causes. Decongestants shrink the swollen membranes in the nose and make it easier to breathe. Decongestants can be taken orally (Sudafed or Actifed) or by nasal spray (Sudafed). Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than seven days without a doctor's advice. They can often cause a "rebound effect" if taken for too long. Cortisone nasal sprays such as Fluticasone (Flixonase) and Beclomethasone (Beconase) are typically the first-line medication for patients suffering from persistent allergies and are very effective in reducing the inflammation which causes swelling, sneezing, and a runny nose. The new Prevalin allergy plus nasal spray forms a thixotropic barrier gel in nose to physically block allergens and Reduces sensitivity to pollen over time.
Tips to prevent hayfever when travelling:
Create a barrier: Smear Vaseline inside your nostrils. This acts as a filter for the pollen.
Sunglasses: Wear wrap around sunglasses to protect the eyes from pollen.
Time it right: Don’t sit outside between 4pm and 7pm or in the early morning, as the pollen count is highest at these times
Shut the windows: Don’t sleep or drive with the windows open, as this will allow pollen to come in.
Wash your hair at bedtime: Pollen is sticky and may be in your hair. It can then transfer to your pillow when you go to bed, and will affect you during the night.
1. Vaccinations – make sure you get them within the recommended time limit
2. Anti-malarials if necessary
3. Health and travel insurance
5. Bank card & banking details
6. Prescription medication & photocopy of prescription
7. Travel adaptor
8. Sun cream with high SPF
9. Lipbalm with SPF
10. Aftersun moisturiser
12. Flight socks
13. Small First Aid kit (Bite/sting cream, Antiseptic cream, Waterproof plasters)
14. Insect repellent with DEET
15. Tablets for diarrhoea & constipation and oral rehydration sachets
16. Travel sickness pills, Headache/pain relief pills, Indigestion pills, Anti-histamines