Are you preparing to take a trip overseas? If so, that is very exciting! There’s nothing like going someplace where you can experience a different kind of culture and see all kinds of new and intriguing things. Of course, in the midst of all of the preparing and packing, it is definitely a good idea to make sure that you have your health needs intact.
No matter where you’re traveling, as a (health) safety precaution, it’s a good idea to let your physician know so that s/he can either provide you with any vaccinations that you may need or simply advise you of some things that you should be on the lookout for.
Things like what? Well, while there’s definitely no reason to go into a panic, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Therefore, we have enclosed five common health risks that come with traveling abroad:
Blood clots. Many health care providers will tell you that if you are going to be sitting on a plane for several hours, it really is a good idea to get up and walk around a bit when the “fasten seat belt” light is off. It helps to bring circulation to your legs so that blood clots do not develop; ones that could potentially travel to your respiratory system if not caught in time.
Food poisoning. When you’re eating food from a place that you are not personally familiar with, whether it’s locally or abroad, there is always a chance that you could contract food poisoning. Although there is no 100 percent failsafe way to avoid it, some things to keep in mind is to not drink tap water, to only drink things that came with a safety seal cap, do not eat any raw foods (make sure that they are thoroughly cooked) and try and stay away from dairy products and foods that have been kept at room temperature.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases. It might not be something that a lot of people want to talk about, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be addressed. Sometimes people think that going overseas translates into getting away with things there that they would not even dream of doing closer to home. Yet, STDs and HIV do not discriminate. Therefore, if you plan on engaging in sexual activity while you’re away, speak with your doctor about blood testing discounts so that you can get a clean bill of health before you go, do not have sex without a condom and run another series of STD testing upon your return.
Hepatitis A and B. Although they both have the word “hepatitis” in common, there are some differences in type A vs. type B. Hepatitis A is a virus that is usually spread through food and drink. Its early symptoms include weakness and nausea and it is contagious. Hepatitis B is actually considered to be one of the most common viruses in the world and is one of the main culprits for liver disease and cancer. Its early symptoms mimic the flu. There are vaccinations that you can get for both of these and it’s highly-recommended that you do before taking a trip abroad.
Malaria. If you’re planning a more tropical vacation, then you definitely need to speak with your doctor about it because malaria is a common and potentially life-threatening illness that some mosquitos carry. Understandably, that can sound a bit scary. The good news is that your physician can provide you with some tablets that you can start taking before you leave and continue taking while you’re away that can keep you from getting it. As long as you’re aware and taking the preventative measures, you should be fine.