The Christmas holidays are a popular time to take a holiday and while most people have few health problems there is the potential for everything from jet lag to tropical diseases. Here are our six top tips to stay healthy while travelling.
If you have a medical condition, make sure you take enough medication for the whole trip. Split the medication into two lots and keep one with you so if your luggage goes missing, you will still have a supply. Weekly medication packs (as shown) are a handy travel tool.
Tip 2: Avoid insect bites by covering as much of the skin as possible with clothing and avoid being outdoors two hours either side of dawn and dusk. Insect repellents and insecticidal sprays can be used. You can choose from ones containing DEET or natural alternatives based on essential oils, depending on where you are travelling to and personal preference.
Tip 3: Alleviate the symptoms of travel sickness by avoiding fatty or spicy foods and eating a light meal about an hour before you travel. Eating ginger half an hour before your journey may also help.
Make sure you face the direction in which you are travelling and choose the most stable area. In a car that is the front seat, on a plane it is over the wing and on a ship it is on the deck. Distract yourself while travelling is a good idea, however avoid activities that encourage you to look down. Ask your pharmacist whether a travel sickness preparation such as Sea-Legs would be suitable for you.
Tip 4: Try and prevent constipation by drinking plenty of water and choosing fresh fruit when it is available. Take a few minutes to go for a short walk when possible, to help digestion. Laxatives may be useful if you still get constipated.
Tip 5: If you are lucky enough to be travelling overseas, visit your doctor at least six weeks before you leave to discuss your travel requirements such as anti-malarial medication or vaccinations. The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is higher when traveling long distances. Your doctor may recommend medicines to take if you have a history of DVT or heart problems, but otherwise, aspirin or compression stockings may be useful. Ask your pharmacist for the best therapy for you.
If you are travelling to a less developed country, avoid contaminated water by cooking, boiling or peeling food. Take care not to swallow water in the shower, pools or while brushing your teeth and make sure any food you eat is cooked, freshly prepared and piping hot.
Tip 6: Travel with a well stocked first aid kit and know when and how to use everything in it. Some useful items to include are:
- Insect repellent
- Water purification tablets/solutions
- Oral rehydration salts
- Diarrhoea treatment
- Antihistamines for hay fever or itchiness
- Pain killers
- First aid items – such as dressings, gloves and alcohol wipes.
- Motion sickness tablets