Tuesday, 25 January 2011

GENERAL TRAVEL - In sickness and in health

A question we are often asked is what happens if you get sick whilst travelling or what do you do about medical insuranc?

Fristly we rarely get sick in the normal sense but are more likely to have an accident.  I think that our low stress life leaves our body well able to cope with any minor problems.


Glen in South Africa awaiting an operation for a ruptured achilles tendon













Unless we are travelling in a place with reciprocal arrangements we buy travel insurance.

If you shop on line there are many companies offering back packer cover, this is normally much cheaper than
full cover, can be taken for periods of up to 18 months continuously but generally covers lower amounts for baggage etc.

Companies that offer back packer/long term policies are Lonely Planet Rough Guides and Right Cover

Do check policy details if you are taking a cruise as many companies do not cover for cruises or charge extra and this amount is then built into the price for the whole trip even if the cruise is only a small part.


I always photograph the policy documents, store them on my laptop and also E-mail them to myself so that I can always retrieve the information. 


In the event of an incident try to remember to either photograph (unless your camera has been stolen!) or get copies of any Police or hospital reports.  Notify your insurance company as soon as possible.














Yes accidents do happen but there are a number of things you can do to avoid getting sick in the first place.

Obviously general hygene is a big factor, baby wides and hand cleansing gel can be a great help in this department.  If you are washing your hands the recommendation is to wash thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds (2 verses of Happy Birthday to you) and then to use paper to open the toilet door as you leave.  This sounds a bit obsessive and we normally don't go to that extent but on the ship where we have had a GI problem we have been taking this extra care.

We prefer to eat at street stalls where food is served freshly cooked and hot rather than some of the hotel buffets where food has been sitting out all day, maybe not at the correct temperature, and flies etc could have landed on it.

Often we check out places that are busy with locals and have no menu in English.  If we don't speak the language we point to a meal that someone is eating and indicate that we would like that.  Generally this means the food is good and fresh but you may still get sick if your stomach is not used to the local spices.

If you can carry a penknife with you then it is easy to peel any fruit that you buy.  Rule of thumb is that if you can boil, cook or peel it you can eat it.

Buying bottled water is a good idea but do check that the tops have not been tampered with or the seal broken.

At some stage you will almost certainly get caught up with the old adage
TRAVEL BROADENS THE MIND - AND LOOSENS THE BOWELS!

If you have to travel then taking something like Lomotil will help.  However if you don't have to be on the move a more natural remedy is to make up a rehydration solution
1 level teaspoon of salt
8 level teaspoons of sugar
1 litre of water
If you try to take a drink of this after each bowel movement and sip as often as possible in between this often curse the problem. 

The BRAT diet can also help, bananas, rice, green apples without the skin and toast.

Avoid foot problems by wearing sandals in the showers

Taking a massage in Asia is wonderful but bear in mind that if you have any open wounds (including mosquito bites) there is a chance of you picking up hepatitis.

Mosquito bites can be a big problem, in addition to a bit container of repellent I always try to have a small amount with me at all times ready for the unexpected encounter.  I also carry anti-histamine tablets and cream. 

I always travel with a small collection of aromoatherapy oils as they have so many uses.

LAVENDER
Great for headaches
Can help you sleep
Nice in your laundry when rinsing clothes
Soothing on the skin if you get sunburnt, mix in with regular body lotion
Helps to speed up healing of cuts and bites
(CARE LAVENDER OIL ACCELERATES CELL RENEWAL SO SHOULD NOT BE USED ON ANYONE WITH CANCER)

TEA TREE
General antisceptic, antifungal and a mouthwash

EUCALYPTUS
Great for breathing problems
Good for removing tar
Can help with headaches

TIGER BALM
Not an oil but the cheap balm you buy in Asia,
Good for headaches
Breathing problems
Put on bites

Keep any open wounds covered with clean dressings, in hot countries when you sweat the wounds often open up and can easily get infected.

TIP

Sign up for a First Aid Course before you begin your trip, you may be surprised how much you learn and you will also get a good book with all the latest treatment methods.  In Britain these are run by St John's and Red Cross

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