With the arrival of the holidays, many people go to the traveler’s consultation. This consultation is very important when traveling to destinations outside Europe or to tropical countries. It is important to make an appointment in advance before the beginning of the trip (at least 4 weeks). However, if you have forgotten it and the departure date is coming soon, it is worth going to the consultation anyway, as you will receive many and important advice and practical tips. In addition, you may be advised to have vaccines or other medicines that protect you against diseases that are common in your destination.
I will share some of the lessons I learned from my traveler’s consultation:
Some diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid fever can be transmitted through food and water consumption. To reduce this risk we must:
- Only drink bottled and sealed drinks (including water) – it is important that you open the bottle yourself!
- Do not consume drinks with ice – we do not know what water was used to make it!
- Straws!? Usually, it is wise to avoid them, because in certain places they are reused by the merchants … Drink directly from the bottle!
- If you want to eat fruit it is also advisable to peel it yourself.
When choosing the destination you should know what diseases are in the area and can be transmitted to you, especially by insects. Zika virus, malaria or yellow fever are only a small part of the diseases that can be transmitted in this way. To prevent insect bites (and thus also the disease they transmit), you should use a repellent with IR3535, DEET or Icaridin. Opt for a roll-on to apply on the face, and a body spray.
Do not apply the repellant only at night because there are mosquitoes that are even more active during the day! Reapply every 3 to 4 hours after sunscreen.
Take in your baggage your anti-diarrhea medicine, painkillers, and a thermometer (we do not know if we can get these products easily at our destination).
If you take medicines regularly, be sure to bring enough for your stay (and a little extra, just in case). In some cases, it is important to adjust the intake times due to the time difference of the destinations (do not forget that one thing is what the watch says, another thing is what your body says! If you have doubts regarding the medicine times, get help from the nearest health professional).
Inquire about the weather of your destination and its conditions, and take proper clothing.
Text written by Filipa.