Travellers are already setting off on vacation in anticipation of the Year of the Horse, but many medical ailments and accidents can easily be avoided with careful consideration and planning.
Dr. Craig Stark, regional medical director of International SOS North Asia, said, “Travelers can improve the chance of a stress-free holiday by planning ahead and taking some simple health precautions during Chinese New Year holiday period.”
Health Comes First
Before you leave home, make sure you know how your personal health could be affected by your destination. If traveling outside of the country, check the recommended vaccinations for your destination and immunize accordingly. Eat as healthy as you can while on the go and stay hydrated.
This year, Chinese New Year falls during flu season. And parts of Europe and the US have seen an early start to the season. If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to get vaccinated with the flu shot. This is especially important for people in higher-risk groups, such as young children, older adults, pregnant women, or people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, or heart disease. Consult your physician before you embark on your journey. Practice good personal hygiene and wash your hands frequently.
Be aware of what you eat and drink while travelling. In destinations with a high risk of traveler’s diarrhea. If you are unsure of the safety of the water, use only boiled or bottled water for drinking or brushing teeth. Remember that ice may have been made from contaminated water and therefore may not be safe. Select thoroughly cooked food and consume it while it is fresh and hot.
Road accidents are common. If you are driving, make sure to have plenty of sleep before you hit the road. Avoid traveling by car at night and break up longer trips into shorter, more manageable drives.
If you are traveling to unfamiliar destinations or remote areas, be sure to gather information on how to access your assistance services provider in case of an emergency. Take note of any potential security threats and be aware of the common hazards wherever you go.
Be especially vigilant about petty crime. Unsuspecting travellers are often the target of opportunistic crime in the form of pick pocketing and non-violent theft. Watch your items carefully and avoid wearing expensive jewelery when you are out and about.
Don’t wait until problems arise on your travels. Be proactive before you go by consulting with your travel health professional, especially if you have a chronic health problem. Be sure to bring more prescription medication than you would normally need and always place them in your carry-on luggage and in their original container.
Know your schedule, have access to good maps, learn a few phrases in the local language and research any issues in advance. Also, be sure to follow the news for the area in which you are travelling. It’s a good way to stay on top of local issues that may come up.
Note: At the time of publishing we are not sure if Dr.Craig Stark was still the regional medical director of International SOS North Asia.
This post has been modified and first appeared on February 8, 2013. The original post appeared in International SOS website. beijingkids was granted permission to repost it.
Photo courtesy of kennymatic (flickr)