Travel A-Z: H is for Health

There’s nothing worse than going on a great trip only to spend the whole time sick as a dog. With a few basic precautions and an ounce of common sense most of the more serious issues can be avoided. Here are a few pointers to consider:

Don’t forget to pack your brain
Many, many accidents happen only because the traveller in questions decided to leave their brain in their home country. Use your common sense and you’re much more likely to come home in one piece. Driving when drunk is dangerous — wherever you are; as is riding a motorcycle without a helmet and swimming when off your head.

General health
Make sure you’re in reasonable health before you leave. Make sure you visit a travel doctor for advice on vacinnations, and while you’re there get them to give you a basic once over. Try to fit in a trip to the dentist — remember how Tom Hanks removed his absessed tooth in Castaway — that is the type of travel experience best avoided. Keep a record on you on your blood type (eg a blood donor card) and make sure you have any allergy bracelets you need.

Love and Lust
Asia has all the main STDs and they are easily contracted if precautions are not taken. Casual sexual behaviour without protection is stupid — very stupid. Always make sure a condom is being used.

Get good advice from a TRAVEL DOCTOR (not your family GP) before leaving. Most travel to Thailand is considered to be generally in areas that are malaria free. Also bear in mind that no medication will offer 100% protection so prevention is a far better idea than trying for a cure.

Medical kit
Take a well-stocked medical kit with you, but do not go overboard. We’d consider a comprehensive kit to include:
* Band aids, elastoplast dressing strip, steristrips, sterile gauze, cotton wool, thermometer, safety pins, scissors and tweezers
* Antibiotics, antacids, Flagyl, Imodium or Lomotil, paracetamol, rehydration mixture, strepsils
* Antifungal cream, cetrimide antiseptic (Savlon), mosquito net, cream insect repellent (Muskol, Repellem, RID), sunscreen

You’ll be spending loads of time in the sun. Take sunscreen and a hat and use both — it really is that simple.

Travellers Diarrhoea
Chances are you’ll get it. When you get it, don’t turn around and swallow a dose of pills, rather ease your diet onto basic foods and take rehydration powder. If you develop a fever or have bloody stools, go and see a doctor.

If possible, check your vaccination requirements at least six months prior to departure. Some vaccinations require a series of shots over a long period of time — you won’t be able to sort these out the morning before heading to the airport.