The Traveller's Guide to Staying Healthy

One of the biggest worries about travelling abroad is personal health. Luckily modern health care can alleviate most of these worries. This article will tell you what you need to do before you go, what you should take with you and some other tips and pointers to preserve your health and vitality on a trip abroad. 

Before You Go

Under the NHS, free vaccinations are provided to protect you against the most common diseases. This includes cholera, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A, meningitis C and typhoid. You can arrange these vaccinations with your local GP. An appointment will be made with a nurse who will carry out your vaccinations. They will also ask you a few questions about where you’re going so they can give you advice on more specialised vaccinations, like protection against rabies or yellow fever, if necessary. 

Now that you are protected against the diseases you may encounter, you should consider what you can do to protect yourself against the everyday nuisances of the countries you’re visiting. 

In Your First Aid Kit

1.  DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide)spray: There is basic insect repellent and then there is deet spray, which was developed by the US Army to protect soldiers in jungle warfare. Deet spray will come in different percentages. Higher percentages will be more expensive and more pungent but will give you greater protection against insect bites. Since mosquitoes are carriers of malaria, a good deet spray is very important.

2. Anti Diarrhoea tablets: Diarrhoea is the most common health complaint of travellers visiting countries with different standards of sanitation.. It will stop you going to the toilet which will enable your stomach to rebalance itself. It is essential in any first aid kit.

3. Antiseptic wipes and plasters: The last thing you want on your travels is an infected wound. Clean cuts and grazes with antiseptic wipes and cover with reliable plasters that won’t fall off.

4. Malaria tablets: This is something your nurse will probably ask you about when you're getting vaccinated. Again whether you need them or not will depend on where you’re going and also when you’re going - the spread of infectious diseases is worst in monsoon season. 

5. Paracetamol tablets: This suggestion is self-explanatory. If you experience mild pains or aches in your body, muscle strain or other pains related to colds and flu, paracetamol tablets should be your first point of call. They are incredibly useful and solve many of the common problems travellers face on their trips. 

Other Tips & Pointers

Water: In countries with poor sanitation you should drink bottled water instead of tap water. You should also avoid anything else with tap water in it: ice cubes, diluted drinks and salad and vegetables that have been washed under a tap. 

Food: Stick to fresh foods that are cooked in front of you. Food that isn’t cooked is more likely to be contaminated. The most troublesome culprits for travellers are peeled fruits, cold meat and sandwiches. Make sure all of the meat you eat is well cooked before putting it in your mouth. Use common sense. 

Insects: Bites from insects are worst between dusk and dawn. If you’re going out at night (it’s your holiday after all) dress in loose clothing that covers your arms and legs. Mosquitos will happily devour your feet so try to wear socks and shoes at night where possible. 

By following these basic tips you should be able to avoid any minor health issues abroad.

This article comes to you from CS Healthcare a specialist provider of affordable health insurance plans to those that work, or have worked, in the civil service, public service and not-for-profit sector, including their families.

This article is intended as general information only. If you or a family member have any medical concerns, please contact your GP or medic.

CS Healthcare is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority – reg no. 205346. The maximum joining age is 74 years and 11 months unless you are switching from a previous insurer in which case the maximum joining age is 69 years and 11 months.

Bruce Davis is a freelance writer and globetrotter.