How to Stay Healthy When Traveling in Europe
How to Stay Healthy When Traveling in Europe
You have been planning your European vacation forever. Now that it’s finally here, you want to make the most of it, so here are some helpful tips to ensure that you stay healthy enough to enjoy every minute.
Use good judgement when eating out
Whether you are climbing the Eiffel Tower or walking the streets of Prague, keep your energy up by eating the right balance of foods. Try to avoid too many carbs and pack a lot of protein into the day’s largest meal. Avoid sketchy-looking restaurants and always make sure your meat is well cooked, unless you are eating sushi.
Pass the hand sanitizer
Packing hand sanitizer with at least 50% alcohol content is the best way to protect you from all of those foreign cold and flu germs. Use a generous portion of hand sanitizer whenever you come in contact with a germy surface, but especially after using the restroom and traveling on the Underground/Metro/train or other forms of public transportation.
No Tylenol here
All of that walking around can leave you feeling stiff or achy, but don’t panic when you can’t find Tylenol or other over-the-counter pain relievers at your local pharmacy. Europeans are more familiar with “paracetamol” for aches and pains. If you are traveling with kids and they get a high fever, Calpol can help bring it down. When checking your temperature, remember that Europe works in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Tip : Normal body temp is 37° C.
Bring water with you
Water fountains are extremely rare in Europe, even in museums and near tourist attractions. All of that walking sure can make you thirsty, so fill up a water bottle or pick up some bottled water at a local shop so you can stay hydrated on your excursions.
Do your business before leaving the hotel
Public restrooms are few and far between in many European countries. When you can find one, rarely are they free. Even the restrooms at Kings Cross Station in London make you pay for a trip to the loo, so don’t take for granted that the pub you are meeting friends at will have a restroom you can use. You can find small kiosks on many European streets, but best to play it safe by taking care of things before you start exploring.
When traveling abroad, you are bound to encounter a lot of foods that you have never seen before, which may come as a shock to your digestive system. Try to limit your intake of rich foods, but if you are a little more adventurous in your culinary choices, just be prepared for your body to rebel a little. The enzymes in yogurt can help you avoid getting the runs, but if the Big D does pays you a visit, just take it easy, drink lots of water, and eat lots of bland foods like bread, rice, bananas, and clear soups.
Traveling in Europe can be a wonderful experience, so don’t let poor health keep you from the trip of a lifetime. For more helpful tips on staying healthy on your travels, contact the friendly medical team at Travel Vaccines & Wellness Solutions today!
Zika: Still a Threat?
End of an emergency, start of long-term containment effort
It has been over a year since the Zika virus became a household topic of conversation and a full year since the first case of the mosquito-borne disease was reported in the mainland United States. Cases in the U.S. and around the world have steadily decreased and the World Health Organization (WHO) actually declared the international Zika emergency at an end back in November 2016.
So, is the Zika threat over? According to the WHO, the answer is no.
As of early January 2017, the WHO had still not changed the global risk assessment of Zika’s continuous spread through certain geographical areas. Southwest Africa recently confirmed two new cases, causing the WHO and local health agencies to take preventative measures. With sixty-nine countries and territories reporting evidence of Zika virus transmission since 2015, Zika remains a global public health threat. The WHO stresses constant vigilance and continued efforts to address the virus which has been linked to a variety of neurological complications and birth defects.
How can I help?
The first and most important thing you can do to help stop the spread of Zika is to increase your knowledge about the disease. Here are the basics:
Zika virus is most commonly transmitted through bites from infected mosquitos, blood transfusions, sexual intercourse with an infected individual, or laboratory exposure. Also, women who are pregnant can pass the disease to their unborn child. Staying away from target areas where the disease is still present is the safest way to avoid contracting and spreading Zika.
Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. Most cases are not severe enough to send someone to the hospital, so many people may not know they have been infected. If you have been in an area affected by Zika, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
While no vaccine currently exists for Zika, health experts are definitely working on it. For now, simply treat the symptoms you have, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and take medicine to reduce your fever and make you more comfortable until the symptoms pass.
To protect yourself and your loved ones from Zika virus, steer clear of mosquito infested areas or wear insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites. Stay up-to-date on all travel notices and avoid or limit time spent in areas where Zika outbreaks have occurred. Use protection during sex or consider abstaining all together for at least 8 weeks after visiting an area affected by Zika virus.
Is Zika here to stay?
Although Zika’s spread has waned, some medical professionals believe that the disease is not going away any time soon. They assume that the virus will behave much like dengue fever, recurring regularly with more cases during the rainy seasons. Others believe that enough people are getting infected right now to achieve sufficient herd immunity within a few years causing Zika to eventually die out.
Whatever the eventual outcome for Zika virus, Travel Vaccines & Wellness Solutions wants you to be prepared. We are committed to ensuring that you are protected no matter where in the world you roam, so contact our professional medical team if you have questions regarding Zika virus or any other diseases that may affect your travels.