Traveling to developing countries can be an amazing and eye-opening experience. However, it’s important to take steps to stay healthy while you’re there. Without proper precautions, you may be at risk of contracting a number of diseases.
Here are tips for staying healthy while traveling in developing countries.
1. Get Vaccinated Before You Go
Make sure you’re up-to-date on all of your routine vaccinations, as well as any additional ones recommended for the countries you’re visiting.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a great resource for travel vaccines and immunizations.
2. Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Wash your hands often with soap and water. This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or handling food.
3. Avoid Contact with Sick People
If you come in contact with someone who is sick, avoid touching your face (especially your eyes, nose, or mouth) until you’ve had a chance to wash your hands.
4. Practice Safe Food and Water Precautions
Only eat food that has been cooked thoroughly and avoid uncooked meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Drink only bottled or boiled water, and avoid ice cubes, unpasteurized dairy products, and fruit juices.
When traveling in areas where sanitation is poor, it’s also important to avoid salads and other raw fruits or vegetables unless you can peel them yourself.
5. Protect Yourself from Insects
Insects can transmit a number of diseases, so it’s important to take steps to prevent insect bites while traveling.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants (preferably light-colored), use mosquito nets when sleeping outdoors or in places with inadequate screens or air conditioning, and use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin.
6. Be Cautious When Swimming in Freshwater Lakes or Rivers
Avoid swimming in freshwater bodies of water altogether if possible; if not, make sure to avoid entrusting young children who might mouth contaminated water while swimming.
Use waterproof sunscreen if swimming during the day to prevent sunburns that could make you more susceptible to infections.
7. Don’t Drink Alcohol to Excess
Drinking too much alcohol can impair your judgment and increase your risk notes of risky behaviors (such as having unprotected sex).
This increases your risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases as well as other infections.
8. Use Condoms Every Time You Have Sex
If used correctly every time you have sex, latex condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
If you’re allergic to latex, there are latex-free condoms available. Another option is the female condom, which is less likely to cause allergic reactions. Make sure to use a new condom every time you have sex.
9. Stay Informed About Local Health Threats
Keep up with the latest news about health threats in the areas where you’ll be traveling. The CDC’s website is a great resource for this information.
10. Seek Medical Care Immediately If You Feel Ill
If you develop symptoms of the disease while traveling, seek medical attention immediately. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent travel history so he or she can provide the most appropriate care.
By following these simple tips, you can help keep yourself healthy while traveling in developing countries.
Remember, however, that even if you take all of the necessary precautions, there’s always a small chance of contracting illnesses such as Dengue fever, malaria, or cholera.
So, it’s important to have travel insurance that will cover medical expenses should you become ill while abroad. Safe travels!