Sun, sea and sickness…
It's the last thing you want to happen on your much-needed time off, being holed up in a hospital far from home.
Wherever you're flying off to this year, there are a few precautions to take to guard against becoming ill. Before you go:
- Check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) about what vaccinations are needed for the area you're visiting.
- Leave plenty of time for your vaccinations to work. Some drugs need time to build up in your system.
- Talk to your doctor if you're still unsure. They should be able to give you advice on what precautions are needed for where.
Wherever you're travelling to, it's important to take care of yourself and to eat sensibly. By just doing a few simple things you can stay healthy while you're away.
- If you ever get a scrape or a cut, keep it clean and apply antiseptic.
- Avoid drinking tap water or untreated water.
- Be safe in the sun – protect yourself with a high factor sun lotion - 15 SPF and above.
- Be a fussy eater – try and avoid undercooked meat, shellfish and salads – these might not have been washed in safe water.
- If you start to feel unwell and your temperature increases (+38C) check your temperature every three to four hours. Not all fevers require medical attention but if yours persists, seek the advice of a health professional.
- If you need a doctor or nurse try and get one who speaks English. If in doubt, contact the British Embassy or Consulate of the country you're travelling in.
- If you're travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA), you should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The card entitles you to medical treatment at a reduced rate or, in some cases, free of charge in any European country.
It is always worth having adequate travel insurance before you leave. It is a small price to pay to ensure you will have access to the right medical services in the unfortunate event that you get ill when travelling.