Ready for your trip? Bags packed and itinerary finalised? Seen your doctor? If the answer to the last one is no, you’re not ready for your trip. Getting sick when in a foreign country is not only unpleasant and inconvenient, it can also be very costly. While we hope that our trips abroad will not be marred by illness, the truth is that it’s not entirely down to chance. There are several steps we can take to protect ourselves and minimise the likelihood that we’ll become unwell during our trip. If you are heading off on an overseas adventure, take note of these six essential health checks.
1 |Get all your vaccinations
You should ensure that your immunisations are all up to date for polio, tetanus, rubella, measles, and diphtheria and whether you need any additional shots for your destination. You can do this through your doctor or at a medical center which specializes in travel. Some immunizations need to be administered at least six weeks before you travel or require a course of injections, so plan ahead. You may also need malarial medication depending on where you are travelling.
2 | Get a health check with your doctor
Take care of your health in the weeks before you travel by getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and taking some exercise. You want to start your trip in the best possible health, so if you have any concerns about new symptoms or existing conditions it’s best to see your doctor before you leave.
3 | See your dentist before you leave
Dentists are not always easy to come by when you are travelling abroad and can be costly, so visit yours for a check-up, especially if you have a concern. The last thing you want on your trip is a toothache, so make an appointment with your dentist well in advance.
4 | Be cautious with prescription medication
If you need to take prescription medication with you, take it in your hand luggage with your prescription. You could also take a letter from your doctor stating the name of the medication and your recommended dosage. Some medication cannot be taken into other countries, e.g., those which contain addictive substances like codeine, so always check the laws in the country you’re travelling to. You may also need to inform the airline if you need to travel with syringes and should bring a letter from the doctor.
5 | Take a first aid kit
Remember to pack a first aid kit, even if you aren’t away for long. It should include the basic first aid kit items as well as any specific bits and pieces you might need for your specific destination.
6 | Prepare for physically challenging trips
If your trip is going to include physical challenges such as hiking or mountain climbing, it may be worth doing some training before you leave. This could be by climbing stairs at home or work, running, working out at the gym or simply walking to work rather than driving. You may also want to invest in some quality walking shoes which will give you proper support and prevent injury.