Health is a huge concern when it comes to traveling. It’s especially because we are constantly exposed to foreign substances and unfamiliar environments. All too often, we put ourselves at risk of contracting various diseases that can be avoided with just a bit of caution and knowledge. Here are 7 common health issues you may encounter abroad.

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Health Issues Abroad: TRAVELER’S DIARRHEA

Up to 50% of international travelers experience diarrhea. This fact makes the famous stomach infection the most common travel-related sickness. Side effects include loose stool and abdominal cramps.

How you can avoid it:

When traveling, especially to developing countries where the risk of contracting traveler’s diarrhea is higher, avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish, and vegetables. Fruits are generally safe if you peel them. But tap water is not. When purchasing bottled water, make sure the container is sealed and branded, as some dishonest vendors might try to bottle and sell you regular tap water. In addition to it, ask your doctor for antibiotics before traveling. Always keep hydrated with lots of water in the event that you do contract an infection.

Health Issues Abroad: RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

There’s nothing more annoying than the common cold or flu. However, if you contract a respiratory infection while traveling, the experience will be more terrifying and 10 times more painful. To make the matter worse, the URI is found nearly everywhere, and symptoms, including a runny nose, slight fever, ear pressure and muscle aches, can severely slow you down.

How you can avoid it:

If you begin to feel a cold coming on, make sure to stay hydrated and to get some rest. In addition, be equipped with the following over-the-counter medications that can help you immediately feel better: nasal decongestants (pseudoephedrine), painkillers (acetaminophen, paracetamol), and nasal steroid sprays for ear pressure or nasal stuffiness. The medications should help. However, if symptoms become worse, seek a doctor.

Health Issues Abroad: SKIN INFECTIONS

If you’re an adventurous traveler, you’ll likely end up with a few cuts and bruises that can serve as breeding grounds for infections. Usually, infections cause redness and swelling around the site of an injury. However, if after being injured you begin having a fever, experiencing intense pain, or seeing pus/discharge, it could be a sign of something serious.

How you can avoid it:

Besides the obvious ways to avoid injury, make sure you have had your tetanus vaccine before traveling. It will help minimize risks. If you are reading this post after getting a cut, ensure that you keep the cut clean. Wash the wounded spot off by using soap and water. Once the cut is cleaned, apply an antibiotic cream and apply a clean-and-dry dressing, which should be changed at least twice a day. Seek medical attention if the infection spreads.

Health Issues Abroad: BUG BITES

All sorts of bugs, especially mosquitoes, can carry deadly viruses such as malaria. Anybody who spends a lot of time outdoors should be very careful.

How you can avoid it:

Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, and a hat, if possible. In addition, tuck your shirt into your pants. Besides the “special clothes,” insect repellants are definitely an effective way to reduce bug bites. You may also use permethrin spray on your clothing, tents, and/or mosquito netting.

Health Issues Abroad: MOTION SICKNESS

Motion sickness occurs when your inner ears and other senses detect motion, while your eyes do not. Such mixed signals can trigger a gnarly bout of nausea or dizziness – whether you’re traveling by plane, car, or boat.

How you can avoid it:

If you’re on a boat, head up to the deck and focus on the horizon. Traveling by car? Sit in the front seat. In addition, over-the-counter motion sickness patches or medicine, such as Dramamine, can help.

Health Issues Abroad: SUNBURN

If sipping apple martinis by the seaside sounds like your ideal getaway, don’t ruin your trip with a painful sunburn that your friends will be happy to poke.

How you can avoid it:

Always bring sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 30 or higher, even if the weather doesn’t look too sunny. The sunscreen bottle should say “broad spectrum” or “UVA+UVB” on the label. If you already have a sunburn, taking a cool bath or wearing wet clothes can help you ease the pain. If you are burned, make sure to avoid the sun to let your skin heal. Also, stay hydrated and treat moisturizer like your new best friend.

How to Avoid Having Health Issues Abroad

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