Life is short and we do not own the time; so, we should live life to the fullest and travel as much as we can. However, there are times when, instead of enjoying the trip, we end up being confined in a hospital that is hundreds of miles away from home because we have acquired an illness. Keep in mind that being aware about what are the travelers’ potential health problems and their respective managements is important to avoid further complications. Let’s talk about travel health!
Traveler’s diarrhea is a generic term used to describe illnesses ranging from an upset stomach, excess gas, to loose, watery stools during and/or after traveling. The most common cause of diarrhea is the intake of contaminated beverage and/or food.
Management: Drink lots of water and electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated. To slow down your bowels, take Loperamide. If there is already blood in your stool, it could mean infection. The common antibiotic for Traveler’s Diarrhea is Ciprofloxacin.
#2: Respiratory Infections
Coughs, colds, and sore throats are common respiratory infections. They are easily acquired when spending long hours at airports, bus terminals, hotels and tourists spots because these places are crowded.
Management: Give yourself enough time to rest and sleep early if possible. Drink plenty of fluids and beverages that are rich in Vitamin C. Take antibiotics, avoid smoking, refrain from drinking alcohol, and keep away from crowded places.
Urinary Tract Infections are more common in female travelers than males. In fact, 50% of women who travel unfortunately acquire UTI’s. Early signs of UTI include discomfort, burning sensation when urinating, dark yellow and strong-smelling urine, and pain. If the infection worsens, it could spread to the kidneys, which ultimately results to fever and side or back pain.
Management: The golden rule to treat UTI’s is to act fast. Once you notice the signs of UTI, take cranberry pills and increase your fluid intake. Drink more than 10 glasses of water daily. Once you feel the urge to pee, look for the nearest rest room at once (I know this isn’t always possible when on the road). Avoid wearing very tight pair of jeans and wear clean, cotton underwear.
Blisters, skin infections, muscle and body pain, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases are also common when traveling.
We, somehow, tend to get vulnerable when we are outside the comforts of our home. Therefore, it is always important to be informed before we travel by researching about our destination. Moreover, it is equally crucial for us to stay alert when en-route. REMEMBER, always do the do’s and never do the don’ts when travelling.