Health Guide

Health Guide
A healthy condition ensures a joyful trip whether travelled locally or overseas. It is important that you make timely preparations especially if you have a particular health condition, going to remote places and those with poor hygiene and healthcare standards or known to have epidemics yet to be brought under control.

Before you go
Tips on preparations
  • Generally, it is good to have a medical and dental check-up to ensure fitness for travel
  • Do homework on destination country and particular places you are visiting
    • Health conditions especially any epidemic existing, potential and suspected
    • Availability and standard of health care facilities
  • Should there be known health issues or existing epidemic
    • Obtain expert medical advice on risks and necessary precautions to be taken.
    • Vaccinations/booster doses to childhood vaccinations to be seriously considered
  • Ensure adequate insurance coverage
    • medical treatment and hospitalisation
    • evacuation if you have a particular health condition and/or in health hazard prone areas
    • activities that you wish to participate in especially when on adventure tours.
  • If you have a particular health condition
    • Consult your doctor.
    • Ensure you have sufficient provisions of medication for duration of trip
    • Travel with a companion especially if the need for assistance is likely
    • If condition is serious, ensure destination has supporting medical facilities in an emergency
  • For a physically active trip
    • If you have not been exercising regularly, gradually build up your fitness (after doctor’s clearance) in weeks or even months before departure date
Checklist before departure
  1. Small medical kit - suggest to include headache tablets, antacids, antiseptic lotion, cotton wool, band-aids, latex gloves, safety pins, 30+ sunscreen and suitable insect repellent
  2. Hygiene essentials - check if they are readily available at destination country. In some countries, feminine hygiene products, nappies and contraceptives, including condoms are known to be unreliable.
  3. Sufficient medication, they may not be available overseas. Ensure they are not considered illegal by checking with embassy or other authorities in destination country.
  4. If you are on anti-malarial medication, follow prescription - take before leaving, while in risk areas and upon return
  5. Documents of importance - insurance, letters from doctor or pharmacist on medical condition and medications (if any) respectively. Keep originals close to you, one duplicate copy in the baggage in case you lose originals and another with someone at home in case of emergency.
  6. Sufficient and appropriate clothing, accessories and shoes to keep you warm in cold temperatures, cool in hot humid weather and dry at all times.
  7. List down all important contact numbers and addresses : hospital, ambulance, insurance service and home country embassy (if any) - especially when travelling independently.
  8. Maintain an e-mail account where you can access and communicate with insurance agents, home and persons who can help you in times of need.
On the go
Tips on maintaining your health and fitness

While flying or long distance ground travel
  • Factor effects of jetlag into your itinerary
  • Keep important medication with you in case your luggage goes missing
  • In cold weather, ensure warm jacket and scarf are readily available in hand-carry bag
  • Remember to take your prescribed medications on time
  • Stretch your lower legs and feet while seated and move your limbs regularly
  • Walk around at regular intervals (when it is safe to do so)
  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • If you have been scuba diving, do not travel in an aircraft for at least 24 hours after your final dive to help avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
While touring:
  • In cold (and rainy) weather, avoid getting wet - carry your raincoat or umbrella with you
  • Do not overstretch yourself physically, especially in hot climates
  • Include ‘relaxation time’ in your itinerary
  • Wear comfortable boots, warm beret, scarf and do not forget your gloves in cold weather when out sightseeing
  • Wear loose clothes, comfortable shoes, hat and sunscreen for sightseeing in sunny weather
  • Beware of uncooked food including salads and cut fruits. Fruits that need peeling are best.
  • Beware of street food. Freshly cooked food in clean environment are recommended.
  • Check if local tap water is safe. If in doubt, use bottled water - drink (plenty of it) and clean your teeth with them. Always examine seal on bottle. In some countries, ‘properly sealed’ bottles are not necessarily reliable, enquire on reputable brands/vendors from locals.
  • Avoid ice in cool drinks. The ice may come from water that are not clean or boiled, freezing preserves germs and not kill them.
  • Wear thongs while showering. Beware of slippery floor.
  • Practise safe sex - HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are widespread in many countries.
  • If you need to buy medicine off-the-shelf, even if they look the same as your regular ones, check carefully on strength. Ensure dosage taken is correct.
When help is needed
  • Keep in touch regularly especially if you have a health condition or travelling alone so that your whereabouts are known to persons who can help you
  • Contact insurance agent on medical and related arrangements, most of them maintain 24-hour service
  • If evacuation is necessary, contact your country embassy/consulate (if any) for assistance
  • Contact home on your condition and necessary arrangements they can make on their part

The information and advise are intended to be a general guide for travellers only. While every care has been taken to prepare the information and make recommendations or suggestions, neither the publisher of nor its management or staff are responsible for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.
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