Accidents

Accidents are the commonest problems encountered by travellers. This can be due to many factors:-

  • Unfamiliarity with surroundings

  • Traffic in different directions

  • Increase in alcohol consumption

  • Participation in activities not usually undertaken, e.g., paragliding, scooters, Skiing, etc.

 

Health care abroad can be very expensive. The UK has reciprocal agreements with many countries, covered by the E111 form.  This should never be solely relied upon as standards vary from country to country. Always ensure you have good travel insurance that covers you specifically for activities you are undertaking.  Pre-existing medical conditions are an important factor. 

 

Beware of sea currents when swimming in unfamiliar places. Take particular care crossing roads. Sharp objects and discarded glass on beaches can injure your feet.

Insect bites and Mosquito

Insects can cause problems from irritating bites to critical illness or even death. There are many diseases spread by insects. Where there is no prophylaxis or treatment for the disease they transmit, bite avoidance measures have to be followed. An infected midge bite in this country can make you unwell, getting this abroad can be a lot worse. Be prepared.

 

Use insect repellents as advised (always apply on top of sunscreen). Take malaria prophylaxis as advised.  Be sure to start this before, and continue during and after your travel to a malaria area. How long you take the medication for depends on what is advised or prescribed. Some malaria tablets can be bought over the counter; some require a doctor’s prescription. In the UK, this is only available through a Private prescription for which there is a charge. The tablets that suit one malaria area may not suit another. Always get the specialist advice you require.

 
Sunburn and Dehydration

Remember -  you can get sunburn even under clouded skies 

Sunburn is preventable.  Limit your exposure & cover up especially after-noon. Always use a high factor sunscreen, wear a hat, use sunglasses and cover up or stay in indoors or in shade between 11am and 3pm.  Drink plenty of non alcoholic beverages. 

Children are especially vulnerable. Keep them drinking but avoid ice in drinks if possible. If they develop diarrhoea and/or vomiting, rehydrate using appropriate solutions. If they remain unwell, seek medical assistance.

Risky behaviour

Unhygenic sex puts you & your family at risk of serious infection.  This not only applies to behaviour in relation to accidents but to changes in sexual behaviour. Unsafe sex can leave more than just a memory for some travellers; it can affect the rest of you life and influence the rest of your family. Sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia are on the increase and are prevalent in many countries. There is a high risk of Hepatitis B and HIV, especially from sex workers.

 
Culture shock

Most travellers will read up (books/internet) on the places they will be visiting. Even with this information, they may not be prepared for some of the sights, sounds and smells that will assault their senses. This can affect short-term travellers as well as those spending longer periods travelling. Communication problems, unfamiliar customs, poverty and begging, safety issues can lead to culture shock, which leads to reduction of the enjoyment of the trip.

 

Care with alcohol

Unaccustomed consumption of alcohol is very common on package holidays and this can lead to illness from intoxication, accidents and the taking of risks with health that would not be entertained at home.

 

Stomach Upsets & Diarrhoea

These are very common. Contaminated food and water is a major cause of illness and care is especially important when eating out in countries where local hygiene is poor. Unaccustomed spices or oil in food as well as alcohol can also lead to stomach upsets. You should consider taking an antidiarrhoeal preparation.

 

 

© 2015 Dr Paul Lim

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