How can we make long flights safer?
- wear comfortable, loose clothing
- move around: stand up more often and do stretching exercises to prevent blood clots
- increase fluid intake – non-carbonated mineral water is the best choice
- avoid alcohol
- avoid fatty, heavy foods
- follow the safety rules (e.g., use the aircraft’s safety belt)
- increased hygiene (frequent handwashing, avoiding shared utensils, use of skin and utensil disinfectants)
- use of a medical-grade face mask/FFP2 mask is recommended for older people, people with chronic illnesses, and pregnant women
- on long flights, those at increased risk of blood clots should wear compression stockings and consult their doctor about the use of blood thinners
How can we make a long car journey more comfortable and safer?
- check the technical condition of the car before setting off (tires, brakes, oil, fluids)
- follow good hygiene practices
- wearing comfortable clothing
- maintain adequate fluid intake
- make frequent stops and breaks to include some movement, leg and arm exercises
- don’t drive when tired, and take turns driving if possible
- wear your seat belt – this is essential for all passengers
- be aware of weather conditions
What medicines should we pack? What should your travel medical bag include?
- prescribed medicines you take regularly
- wound and instrument disinfectant
- painkillers and antipyretics to reduce pain and fever
- antispasmodics (for stomach ache, menstrual cramps)
- for mild diarrhea – e.g., activated charcoal tablets – to bind and neutralize toxic substances in the gastrointestinal tract
- laxatives for people prone to constipation
- anti-nausea, anti-vomiting drugs
- for insect stings and allergies (contrary to misconceptions, calcium preparations are not effective – antihistamines should be used instead)
- mosquito repellent if travelling to exotic locations
- high-factor sunscreens
What can be done about the most common travel sickness, diarrhea?
In most cases, the bacteria, viruses, or parasites that cause diarrhea enter the body through contaminated food or water. Prevention is the most important factor: follow strict hygiene rules, including frequent hand disinfection. Also, check before travelling whether tap water is safe to drink in the destination country.
If diarrhea strikes, do the following: in mild cases, it is not advisable to use antidiarrheals at first, as this will only prolong the recovery. Symptoms usually disappear by themselves within a few days. Activated charcoal tablets have a beneficial effect against the absorption of toxins. Follow a strict diet (bananas, boiled potatoes, rice, home-made biscuits) for a few days. Taking probiotics may also be useful to regulate the intestinal flora.
You should consult a doctor in the following cases:
- if the diarrhea lasts for more than 2 days,
- for suspected food poisoning,
- for elderly people with chronic illness,
- for young children, because of the risk of dehydration.
Most common travel-related infectious diseases:
Hepatitis infections (viruses that cause infectious hepatitis): vaccination against hepatitis A and B is available.
Malaria: this is a serious infectious disease transmitted by parasites. It is spread by infected mosquitoes. Prevention is most important: mosquito bite control in tropical areas, using mosquito nets with repellents. Start taking the appropriate medication before travelling.
Dengue fever: caused by a virus which can cause severe life-threatening symptoms, also spread by infected mosquitoes. Prevention is via mosquito bite control.
Salmonellosis: an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella, the causative agent of diarrhea. It is spread by contaminated food and drinking water. Prevention: strict observance of hygiene rules as there is no vaccination against infection.
Typhoid: an infectious disease transmissible from human to human. Spread by an asymptomatic carrier of the bacterium. Symptoms are fever, headache, cough, later diarrhea. Prevention: vaccination, consumption of bottled water.
What hygiene rules do we need to follow? What should we look out for to make sure drinking water is safe?
- frequent hand washing, skin disinfection
- avoid frequent hand-to-mouth contact
- if water is not potable in the destination country, drink bottled mineral water instead of tap water and natural water, wash fruit and vegetables with bottled mineral water (in hotels, avoid ice cubes as they are usually made from tap water. Use bottled water when brushing your teeth.)
- eat only properly heat-treated food
Is protection from sunlight important while travelling?
Of course, in addition to waterfront holidays, it's also important to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays while hiking or sightseeing. To prevent skin cancer, use sunscreens (SPF 30 or higher), reapply every 2 hours, and wear protective clothing and a hat. Avoid sun exposure between 11am and 3pm if possible.
Travel vaccinations: when to start organizing vaccinations to build adequate immunity?
Unfortunately, many infectious diseases are easily contracted in the most popular holiday destinations. Before travelling, it is always a good idea to find out about the mandatory or recommended vaccinations for your destination. Dr. Rose Private Hospital is also an international vaccination center, where we offer personalized travel advice and, if necessary, vaccinations before your trip. When making an appointment, it is important to note that it takes several weeks for the vaccine to develop the appropriate immune response, so it is best to have your first vaccination 6 weeks before departure.