When planning a trip, whether for work or leisure, there are certain health-related issues we have to take into account. We offer you here some tips for before, during and after the trip.
It is very useful to have advance knowledge of health issues in the destination country and whether there exists some form of reciprocal agreement with our own country. For this reason we recommend you visit the Countries section of the World Health Organization’s website. Whenever possible, plan your trip in advance, given that, in some countries, it is advisable – or sometimes, even, mandatory – to be vaccinated at least eight weeks beforehand.
Should you take medication for some chronic condition, it is important to heed this advice:
• Visit your doctor, as he must prescribe you a sufficient quantity and provide you with a medical report, in case it proves necessary to justify it at some border crossing.
• Take enough medication with you, even a few extra pills.
• When traveling by plane, distribute your medication between your carry-on and checked baggage.
According to the means of transport used, certain repercussions for our state of health must also be borne in mind. In the specific case of flights:
• Generally speaking, healthy babies can travel by plane 48 hours after birth, but it is preferable to wait until they are at least seven days old.
• Pregnant women can usually travel safely, but most airlines place restrictions on them flying in the final stage of their pregnancy.
When traveling to a foreign country, special care must be taken with the food and water you consume. One of the most frequent pathologies is “traveler’s diarrhea” which can affect up to 80 percent of travelers to high-risk destinations. Some of the precautionary measures with unsafe foods and beverages include, in general, avoiding:
• Foodstuffs that have been kept at room temperature for several hours (buffets or at street vendor stalls).
• Raw food, except fruit and vegetables you peel or shell yourself, and avoid fruit with damaged skin.
• Ice, unless it is made from some known source of water or bottled water.
• Food containing raw or undercooked eggs.
• Ice cream from unreliable sources, such as street vendors.
• Boil unpasteurized milk before drinking it.
• Always wash up with soap and water before preparing or eating any food.
• With bottled drinks, check that the manufacturer’s seal is intact.
In addition, bear in mind…
• Insect bites: useful tips include repellents, mosquito nets, air conditioning in your room, and avoiding going out at dusk.
• Excursions: “drink before you get thirsty, eat before you get hungry, wrap up well before you get cold and rest before you are exhausted.”
• Be careful with sunburn: it is important to protect yourself with high-factor sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. And take special care with infants and the elderly.
Some diseases do not develop immediately. In the event of any discomfort or upset appearing, you must inform the doctor of any trips you have made in the last 12 months.
Follow this advice and have a good trip!