Travel Health : Stay Healthy When Traveling Overseas

Many prospective travelers are often deterred from journeying to developing nations for fear of contracting a disease. Stories of tainted drinking water, malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and other pathogens prevent these people from exploring the cultural and historic riches that the developing world has to offer. While the danger is real, there are preventative steps that can be taken to keep the risk low. Cross-Continental Solutions has recently released some practical tips to help travelers stay safe and healthy abroad.

First and foremost, travelers should make sure all their vaccinations are up-to-date. If one is unsure as to whether their vaccinations are current, they can obtain a copy of their vaccination record from their family physician. If basic vaccinations are all current, make sure to also check the suggested vaccinations for one’s specified destination. Such vaccinations may usually be obtained through a travel clinic. Keep in mind, however, that only legally required vaccinations must be taken. Other suggested vaccinations may offer some increased protection, but may also cost a premium and only protect against a marginal risk of disease.

Next, travelers need to be aware that eating and drinking are common ways to contract a food borne illness when abroad. Each country has its own standards when it comes to food handling and quality control, and needless to say, these standards vary greatly. As a rule, drink only water that has been commercially bottled, chemically treated, or brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute.

Furthermore, tainted water may also be consumed indirectly through raw fruits and vegetables that have been rinsed with contaminated water. Instead of eating salads or raw fruits and veggies, only eat cooked vegetables unless they have been washed thoroughly in pure water and peeled.

It is also important to be aware that many illnesses can simply be avoided by practicing good sanitation habits, especially remembering to wash one’s hands. Hands should be washed in clean water before and after every meal, and after going to the bathroom. It may also be practical to bring hand sanitizer along as access to clean running water may be limited in many developing regions.

It is also advisable that travelers bring an emergency travel first aid kit with bandages and other first aid materials, along with any medications they might need on their trip. Travelers should bring cold, allergy, and pain medication, as well as those for upset stomach, diarrhea, and constipation. Try to avoid purchasing medications overseas when possible, as it may be difficult or even impossible to determine for certain what each drug contains. Brand names may be different and likely government safety standards as well. If the traveler has no other option but to purchase medicine abroad, they should consult their embassy, or at least a medical physician, for guidance in making a safe choice.

The same rule applies to vitamin food supplements. It is handy to pack some multivitamins for traveling in the developing world. Food variety is not always plentiful, and it sometimes can be difficult to get all the nutrients one needs from food alone. It’s important, however, to get these supplements in the developed world, where government standards at least provide consumers with some level of protection. Vitamins procured while abroad may contain all sorts of unknown substances, and in some cases, may actually cause the traveler harm.

When traveling to a location with lots of mosquitoes, the risk of contracting malaria becomes an issue. Be sure to wear liquid mosquito repellent that has a 30% concentration of DEET pesticide in it. This will minimize one’s risk of contracting a mosquito carried disease. Additionally, it may be advisable to bring a mosquito net and malaria pills.

Finally, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and consuming too much alcohol, can all weaken the immune system. Do things in moderation, and make sure to get enough rest. Additionally, long term travelers generally are at increased risk to illness due to the extended period abroad. As such, these tips are extremely important for those participating in long term international internships and volunteer abroad programs.

By employing these easy preventative measures, travelers can enjoy their volunteer abroad experience and return home without any major illnesses or complications. To access more informative advice or plan a life-changing trip, sign up for free resources at http://www.CrossContinental.org and get great tips via email.

About Cross-Continental Solutions:

Cross-Continental Solutions provides flexible yet affordable volunteer abroad, intern abroad, cultural immersion, language learning, and gap year programs. It is an exceptional cross-cultural experience for those who wish to make a difference. International internships are very popular among college students looking for school credit. Covering a wide range of needs, projects abroad are available in areas such as: Teaching, Healthcare, Community Development, Business Coaching, HIV work, Care-giving, Orphanage Work, Journalism, Photography, Wildlife, Agriculture, Environmental Protection, Microfinance, Tourism, Marketing, and more. Programs are available at many locations around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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