To reduce the risk of catching infections while travelling abroad, you can take several precautions. The following are some actions you can take:
Practise good hand hygiene:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating or touching your face. Use hand sanitizers with alcohol as a basis if soap and water are not accessible.
Avoid close contact with sick individuals:
Try to maintain a distance from people who are coughing, sneezing, or displaying signs of illness. Viral infections can spread through respiratory droplets, so maintaining distance can help reduce the risk.
Wear a mask:
In situations where it may be difficult to maintain physical distance or if required by local regulations, wear a mask to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections. Follow the guidelines provided by health authorities regarding mask usage.
Stay up to date with vaccinations:
Ensure you are up to date on routine vaccinations recommended by your healthcare provider. Some countries may require specific vaccinations for entry, so check the vaccination requirements for your destination and get vaccinated accordingly.
Avoid touching your face:
Touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth, can provide an entry point for pathogens. Try to minimise touching your face to reduce the risk of infection.
Be cautious with food and water:
Consume food and water from safe and reputable sources. Avoid tap water in areas where it’s not considered safe and use bottled water or treated water instead. Be mindful of food hygiene practices, such as eating freshly cooked hot meals, avoiding street food, and ensuring fruits and vegetables are properly washed or peeled.
Protect yourself from insects:
Insect-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, or Zika virus can pose a risk in certain destinations. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and consider sleeping under mosquito nets, especially in areas where these diseases are prevalent.
Be mindful of respiratory hygiene:
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. After using tissues, wash your hands carefully and dispose of them properly. If you’re in a country where it’s common to cough or sneeze into your hand, make an effort to adopt the tissue or elbow method instead.
Prioritise your overall health by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, staying physically active, and managing stress. A strong immune system can help reduce the risk of infection and promote faster recovery if you do fall ill.
Stay updated on travel advisories, health alerts, and any disease outbreaks at your destination. Check the websites of reputable sources such as the CDC or WHO for the latest information and follow their recommendations.
Remember that these preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of catching infections, but they don’t provide complete immunity. It’s important to stay vigilant, follow local health guidelines, and seek medical attention if you develop symptoms of illness during or after your trip.