Health and tourism are connected in many ways; from travelers going off on vacations in search of psychological refreshment to medical tourism and the uniquely independent topic on diseases and travel. The latter has in recent years gained more attention with soaring numbers of travelers (1.1 billion according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer 2014) increasing the risk of spread and related tourism crises. Take for instance the Ebola outbreak in the Western Africa Region, or the SARS epidemic in Asia. While the specific regions bore the heat of the crises, its domino-effect on global tourism was felt to the farthest corners of the travel-circuit. This week, Jovago.com, the leading online hotel booking site explores measures that you can observe while traveling to keep your health in tip-top condition.
Make sure you get your travel jabs
Vaccinations fall into two categories; the recommended and the required. While there are no two ways around required vaccines (you can’t go across border without a stamp of the vaccination), recommended vaccinations are mostly issued by the Center for Disease Control, depending on the origin and intended destination of the traveler. For instance, while travelers headed to Kenya must get vaccinated against measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), CDC recommends a jab against malaria as well as Hepatitis A.
Down to the specifics
Every traveler is unique; make time for a close and candid talk with your doctor so as to get the specifics of your medical history, as well as possible itinerary. For instance, a backpacker exploring the Samburu interiors or camping up in Virunga will most definitely have different vaccination needs from a corporate executive attending a round table in one of the high-end uptown five stars. Again, age, chronic conditions and general risk-factor will also play a role in determining what a traveler may require to safeguard their health.
Pack your Home Remedies and supplements
Forewarned is forearmed. The wisdom in this age-old idiom is that you can possibly deflect almost any incident or accident given the necessary precautions. Do pack your sleeping pills, find space for your inhalers and rubs if need be, pack your vitamins if this is your routine and for ladies, pack your personal effects as necessary. All I’m saying is, unless you are familiar and certain with the destination, do not deliberately leave your life-support remedies with the thought of purchasing new stocks along the journey or at your destination.
Always Prepared: Travel like a scout
Basic first aid know-how sounds like just any other skill; until it’s the only option you have. Seemingly basic daily activities can turn hazardous within a blink of an eye. For instance, your child may choke, your partner may sprain his or her ankle while burns and bites are also not so farfetched. The best practice is to get into the habit of learning and refreshing your skills from time to time. The Red Cross Society has very insightful and easy to follow guidelines on first aid which are easily found online. Grasp each of this by taking tests for every aid class/training taken.
If you suspect it, keep walking
If the food doesn’t look clean; chances are it is not. If that bottled water looks suspicious, don’t bother to check the seal. Apart from the obvious, check the general cleanliness of the place you are staying and the sanitation levels of the premise. You may not be in a position to dig into minutiae of the kitchen and patisserie matters, but it takes no scientist to know the cutlery should not be stained and the wine glasses should not be wet.
Voluntary vs involuntary threats
While most countries, at least those signed with the UN World Tourism Council will take extra measures including sealing off borders in times of health crises and epidemics; travelers are advised to be both proactive and cautious in regard to their health. Travel is known to inject some kind of ‘high’ in most people, and while others retain their sanity; some take this opportunity to engage in activities they would not think of back home. Reckless sexual encounters, drugs and other dangerous activities fall under voluntary health threats. Another first growing frontier contributing to voluntary threats is adventure tourism which mostly calls on individuals to participate in high adrenaline, nerve-racking extreme sporting. Although providers of the latter are expected to provide protection and advise the participators accordingly, the danger and threat in the activities could be life threatening.
From flying to cycling, the risk is distinctive. Medical reports indicate that as many as 10% of long haul fliers are at risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) due to the long seating hours in clamped space. Gastrointestinal illnesses are quite a common occurrence on cruise ships as is rodent infestation in some airport lounges. Land transport is not left out either, with road collisions being a major cause of death on the highway. Whichever mode you settle for, aim to have all basic and standard requirements fulfilled and certified to minimize chances of possible accidents.