International travel has become an integral part of almost everyone’s life these days. Travel can be for official work, social commitments or recreational reasons. Formalities required for travelling from one country to another are now a much simplified process, owing to various systems like the American Government’s ESTA (electronic system for travel authorisation) and visa on arrival. To meet all the ESTA requirements one can apply ESTA online or using an ESTA form.
Though travel related legalities have been simplified, concerns related to health continue to loom large. Travelling to distant land entails change of water, food habits, climate etc. There are various bacteria and viruses lurking and innocent travellers are most vulnerable to infections and diseases on these trips. Here is a look at three of the most common health issues faced by foreign travellers.
According to doctors, 60 per cent travellers suffer from bouts of diarrhoea during a trip abroad or soon after. There are several factors that can cause diarrhoea. The most common reasons for diarrhoea are drinking contaminated water or eating stale or unhygienic food that can cause food poisoning. The most common symptoms of diarrhoea are blood in stools, frequent watery stools, fever, light-headedness, and severe abdominal cramps.
A traveller suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms must seek medical help immediately, to curb the infection. They should increase their fluid intake to ward off further complications such as dehydration. Purified water, juices, soups and coconut water help keep the body hydrated.
Blisters can be a major reason for concern for avid travellers. Though not a disease, blisters can severely hamper travel plans. Blisters are small bubble like bumps that appear on the upper layer of skin. They are usually caused by excessive heat and friction. Ill-fitting shoes, long treks, exposure to freezing temperatures can also cause blisters. Travellers involved in strenuous activity such as cycling, running, hiking, and camping are most likely to face problems of blisters on their feet. In most cases blisters get filled with pus (in case of infection), serum or plasma. Blisters can be painful and get infected if neglected. The best way to avoid blisters is to wear light cotton cloths, comfortable shoes and cotton socks while travelling.
Travellers who like to camp in forests or go for long hikes and trekking are always susceptible to skin infections. Skin infections occur due to scrapes and cuts caused while passing through thorny bushes and shrubbery. Skin infections may also be caused by coming into contact with sap of poisonous plants or through the bite of creepy crawlies. Hands, arms and legs are most commonly affected by skin infections. It makes sense to wear protective clothing and gear while venturing into wooded areas.
It is advisable to wash the nicks and cuts with clean water to remove all the dirt and grime and apply an antiseptic ointment or lotion. Doing this avoids any harmful bacteria or virus from spreading and prevents the skin from flaring up. A doctor must be consulted without delay in case an infection causes the skin to become inflamed, causes temperature to rise or begins to spread to other parts of the body.
Wear proper travel clothes, drink clean water and eat hygienic food to avoid the most common health issues travellers across the globe face. It is better to take precautions than to suffer.