Health tips for the Smart Traveller!

Experienced excruciating pain while take off and descent? Scared to plan your next vacation because of your Delhi belly pooping your last holiday?

This week team Fxkart brings to you tips to look after your health on your travel and put your fears to rest. Be sure to tick these off on your check-list before you head abroad.

Things to do beforehand

Check your destination country for requirement of yellow fever vaccination certificate. Get yourself vaccinated on time.

Malaria prophylaxis is a must if travelling to the tropics. Mefloquine, Malarone or Doxycycline can be used for Prophylaxis. Consult your doctor at least a few weeks before the trip as usually the course is begun 2 weeks before travel.

Typhoid vaccination is advisable to all especially if travelling to South Asia.

If you are a diabetic make sure your sugars are well controlled. Any illness on travel will make your sugars shoot up and finding health care will be a nightmare. Carry your glucometer on your travel if on insulin.

Get a travel insurance. In case of any misfortune of accidents and major injuries, getting medical help in foreign lands can burn a hole in your pocket. More on travel insurance in my future blog posts.

If suffering from chronic conditions such as G6PD deficiency or diabetes, getting a bracelet stating your medical condition is a good idea. Ideally one should always wear a bracelet for such conditions but on international travel it is a must.

Have a health card stating your name, blood group, health conditions, doctor’s name and contact details, insurance numbers and food allergies printed on it.

It is better to buy all your meds before your trip from India as it costs much less here than abroad.

Things to remember while packing for your trip

Pack your regular medicines if you have thyroid, high BP, diabetes or any other chronic conditions. Keep adequate stock in excess of the number of days as a contingency. Be sure to carry a prescription for all your medicines from your doctor to show at customs for clearance.

Carry your supply of sunblock lotions that suit you and work for you. Carry hats and umbrellas to protect yourself from the sweltering heat of your destination.

Pack sachets of probiotics and ORS powder which can be reconstituted. In case of an attack of the runs, rather than running to the pharmacy, reach out for your bag.

Pack small bottles of hand sanitisers. Be sure to use them when eating out. Keep a first aid kit consisting of antiseptic, bandaids etc handy.

Always keep regular pain killers and antacids. Paracetamol should be safe unless you’re allergic to it.

All regular medicines for children should be packed in the hand baggage. Do not check them in. Children are ardent followers of the Murphy’s laws and will need a medicine on flight only when their meds are in the checked-in luggage!

Carry insect repellant lotions to slather on yourself and kids especially when travelling to mosquito ridden areas.

When on flight

On long haul flights take walks frequently to prevent cramping and swelling of feet. Improve your blood flow by periodically flexing your feet at the ankle joint. Will reduce calf cramps and the risk of DVT.

If you are a diabetic on insulin, consult your doctor before your travel for advice on altering your insulin dosage. For long flights, such India to US, you end up gaining time on reaching the destination. Giving an extra dose of short acting insulin on flight and taking the next dose as per US timing should do the trick.

Sudden take off and descent causes pressure imbalance in the middle ear and severe pain in the ear. For adults prone to ear pain such as myself (boohoo!), chewing gum, sucking on candies and blowing out against closed nostrils should help. Babies can be nursed or given pacifiers.

If you are traveling with a cold or an upper respiratory infection, pop an antihistamine such as cetirizine, fezofenadine, levocetirine etc before the flight. The pressure differences during take off and landing predisposes the secretions carrying the virus or bacteria to be sucked into the middle ear causing a ear infection.

This is just a rough guide for the most commonly encountered problems. Be sure to put your health first and make arrangements beforehand and err on the safer side.

Have a healthy trip!