Things to do:
- Do your homework! Study up on where you are going and what possible pathogens are in that area. Not every place is going to have the same types of diseases…taking a trip to the Amazon is completely different than heading up to Canada. You don’t have to study like your preparing for a test, but just be cognizant of the area you’re headed and some of the general common symptoms that foreigners have when down there. We all know that if you go to parts of Mexico or other similar countries, you may want to avoid the water so as to avoid Montezuma’s Revenge. So drink bottled water! Please! You won’t regret it!
- Always budget a few extra bucks in case of emergencies. It doesn’t mean that you are definitely going to get sick while traveling, it just means that you’re prepared if you so happen catch something.
- Bring a small travel sized medical kit with you. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere exploring and all the sudden every joint in your body starts to ache, have some ibuprofen ready to go. That ibuprofen can mean the difference between you making it to safety or you unable to move out in the jungle. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.
- Drink clean water…always. Like I mentioned before, unclean water can cause terrible diarrhea and lead to severe dehydration, which can kill you, or, at the very minimum, make you very weak. Also, wash your hands regularly…with soap!
- Look into travelers insurance. If you happen to get into an accident or become deathly ill in a foreign land, you’re travelers insurance is going to come in quite handy.
Things not to do:
- Don’t isolate yourself. Foreigners who isolate themselves while sick and needing medical attention have a hard time getting treatment when that time comes. If you need help, ask for it. People inherently want to help.
- Make sure you’re in a safe environment. Don’t put yourself in situations where you can be taken advantage of. If you’re going to travel solo, know where you’re going.
- If you get medication from the local pharmacy, take the recommended dose! Don’t double up or take a bit more because you think you need it. They are recommended doses for a reason!
- If you’re not feeling well while traveling, don’t caffeine up or drink energy drinks to power through it. You’re body needs time to recover and if you power through it, you’ll stay sick longer. Plus, caffeine will just dehydrate you anyway. Drink lots of clear fluids and make sure you eat something healthy.
- Don’t take your leftover antibiotics if you start feeling sick. You might have a viral infection and those antibiotics aren’t going to do anything but kill off some of your gut flora, which then weakens the immune system. Plus, if you take those antibiotics, you won’t have enough for the full cycle of them anyways, so you may kill of bacteria, but probably not all of them, and then create bacterial resistance.
Have fun when you travel, but be prepared!
Hope this helps with your article!
-Dr. Matthew Brennecke, MS, ND is a Board-Certified Naturopathic Doctor practicing at the Rocky Mountain Wellness Clinic in Fort Collins, CO. He prefers using natural therapies to pharmaceutical medication when possible, so as to limit side effects to treatment and sees a variety of patients with a range of chronic conditions. He can be reached by email at Rockymountaindoc@yahoo.com, www.rockyclinic.com, or on Twitter at @RockyDocFOCOTags: antibiotics, clean water, drink the water, emergency, medications, mexico traveling, sick, travel, travel emergencies, travel insurance, traveling abroad
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This post was written by Dr. Brennecke