Staying healthy and avoiding accidents when travelling abroad
Common problems abroad include digestive upsets, injuries in traffic accidents, and sexually transmitted infections. You can minimize the risks by finding out about your destination before you travel and having recommended travel immunizations.
Digestive upsets and sexually transmitted infections are common problems when travelling abroad, but hot weather and local wildlife can also present hazards.
To reduce the risk of gastroenteritis, wash your hands with soap and water before meals; avoid raw vegetables, salads, shellfish, and ice cream; and peel all fruit. Use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth, or purify water using tablets or a filter.
If you develop diarrhoea, rest for at least a day, eat nothing, and drink plenty of fluids (preferably special rehydration fluids). If diarrhoea persists, seek medical help.
The best defence against sexually transmitted infections is abstinence from sex with new partners. Also reduce the risk of infection by practising safe sex.
Moist skin is an excellent growth medium for bacteria and fungi. Most skin and fungal infections can be prevented by frequently showering and changing, wearing loose clothing, and avoiding strong sunlight.
Precautions against mosquitoes will help to prevent other stings and bites (see Avoiding bites and stings). Keep your bed away from the wall, shake clothes and shoes before you wear them, and put on shoes whenever you get out of bed.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.