With people heading off to exotic places and wanting to visit far flung places there is a whole world out there to experience. Some people get ill whilst travelling which can disrupt travel plans. Here’s a short guide on how not to get sick whilst travelling.
Wash your hands
One of the most important things to do when travelling is to keep your hands clean. This includes washing your hands after using the bathroom and before eating. Don’t forget to wash after touching animals and in street markets. It might sound basic news but it goes a long way to preventing tummy bugs. Where there isn’t water readily available to wash hands, use a hand sanitizer. You’ll find that in some cultures the left hand is considered unclean and used for toilet purposes whilst the right hand is used to handle food. This is another basic way of avoiding infections. Don’t forget that one of the dirtiest places around will most likely be the keyboard in the internet café.
Wash and Peel fruits
There’s an old saying that it something can’t be boiled, fried, or peeled then don’t eat it. When travelling in developing countries night soil is used to fertilise crops. It is important to wash or peel fruits and vegetables before eating them to avoid a mouthful of something unpleasant. Some countries are very liberal with the spraying of pesticides, making it doubly important to wash fruits before eating them.
Pack Shoes Well
In many countries shoes are considered dirty. You’ll find people do not walk inside a house with shoes. Think about where those shoes may have been all day and you’ll get a feel for how dirty they are. Pack them well in plastic bags in a case to avoid them contaminating clothing and other belongings. If you are camping where there are drop toilets, then keep your shoes between the outer and inner flaps of the tent to avoid contaminating the areas where you’ll place your hands.
Eating local food is all part of a great travel experience but there are times when care should be exercised. Avoid the buffets left out all day, and food that has been simmering in a pot for a long time as this gives time for bugs to multiply. Food cooked fast at a high temperature is generally fine to eat. Avoid dips as some people double dip which can lead to food becoming contaminated. Do look for where the locals eat as you are likely to get some great food in these places.
Watch the Water
Whilst most water in Western Europe and North America is fine to drink there are parts of the world where tap water is just not safe, even to brush your teeth. Use a filter water method, or bottled water. Water purification tablets are a good resource as back up where there is no clean supply. If you do buy bottled water don’t forget to check the seal as there are some enterprising people who reuse these bottles and sell water from the tap. In hot climates it is really important to drink fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
Traveling is a wonderful way to see the world. Use these simple rules for staying clean whilst on the road and it will help you avoid being sick.