Travel health tip - wash your hands

8 helpful travel health tips (how to stay safe overseas)

You’ve probably heard about the coronavirus by now.

Originating in China, it’s a new virus that can cause respiratory illness, including pneumonia.

There are thousands of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world, including Australia, and some people have even died (you can get the latest coronavirus updates here).

While our travel health checklist has tips to help you before you go overseas, we thought it was timely to provide advice on how to stay safe once you’ve actually arrived at your destination.

1. Keep your hands clean

Proper handwashing can protect you and others from a range of diseases.

Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating, when handling food and after you use the toilet.

You could also carry hand sanitiser with you as a back-up, to help keep the germs at bay.

2. Avoid sick people

This might seem obvious, but keep your distance from sick people.

And, keep your immune system strong by drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet and sleeping well.

3. Think before you eat and drink

Getting gastro overseas is common. But you can try to minimise the dreaded ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’!

While a glass of soft drink might be safe, the ice in the glass could be made with contaminated water.

High-risk foods include raw meat and seafood, salads and unpasteurised dairy products.

4. Don’t get too drunk

The alcohol content of drinks varies between countries. So, a vodka soda in Europe could be twice as strong as what you drink here.

When you’re drunk, you might drop your guard and become an easy target for petty criminals, or worse. It’s not worth the risk.

(As an aside – if you need help with a drinking problem please contact us.)

5. Avoid wild and feral animals

The coronavirus is believed to have started in an animal market in central China.

So, when you’re overseas, avoid areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals are slaughtered, including fish and seafood.

If you do come into contact with animals or animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have thoroughly cleaned your hands.

Some overseas destinations, like Bali and Thailand, are known for their street dogs and wild monkeys. Many of these animals have rabies, and if you’re bitten, it could be fatal.

Luckily, you can get immunised for rabies before you go. And remember to stay abreast with Smartraveller updates too!

6. Protect yourself from insects

Similar to wild animals, our insect friends can wreak havoc on our health if we’re not careful.

In many parts of the world, the bite of infected mosquitoes can spread infectious diseases including yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever.

Travel health tip: protect yourself by wearing mosquito repellent, and have a chat with us about vaccinations or medications you can take.

7. Protect yourself against the sun

We know how hot it can get in Australia. But the sun can also hit you in many countries overseas!

Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, and reapply when necessary. There are other ways you can protect your skin from the sun too.

8. Have safe sex

Condoms are not just for stopping pregnancy – they’re to help protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.

The rate of STIs in some countries is very high. So, if you’re sexually active, carry condoms with you.

When you return

Pay close attention to your health in the fortnight after you get back from overseas. If you’re feeling unwell you should see your doctor.

And remember, our team can assist with all your travel health requirements including vaccinations. Stay safe and happy travels!

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel, Smartraveller, Department of Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.