Staying Healthy on Tour
A few sensible precautions will save a lot of anxiety should you fall ill abroad.
Before you go...
- Make sure that you've got adequate travel insurance cover
- Remember that on 1 January 2006 the E111 paper certificate was replaced with the plastic European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - available online at the Department of Health website https://www.ehic.org.uk or through your Post Office. You may still have to pay for treatment abroad, but you can claim back most of the charges. Of course this scheme won't cover you if you're travelling to North Africa, If you've had an EFIC for a while please check it hasn't expired.
- If you are on medication, make sure you have sufficient supplies to last the trip. Make sure you tell your guide of any health issues. Ask your GP for a letter detailing exactly what medication and dosage are required. Keep your GP's number handy.
- Well before the trip, check with your GP's surgeries if you need any inoculations. They should have a list of countries and which jabs, if any, are required
- It's worth asking your doctor to prescribe a course of broad-based antibiotics. (Some GPs will, some won't) These should deal with any minor infections, such as persistent tummy bugs.
- You can now buy antibiotic eye-drops over the counter at your pharmacy. Remember to keep them refrigerated once opened.
- Prepare your first aid and medicines kit and make sure it's accessible in your vehicle.
While you're out there...
- Most health problems are caused by poor hygiene. Wash hands regularly, a small bottle of hand gel in your door pocket used regularly. Take a couple of tubs of antiseptic hand wipes and remember to use them.
- Drink plenty of fluids. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. Fill a small drinks bottle each and drink at least one in the morning and one in the afternoon whilst driving along.
- If you do pick up a stomach bug, don't just reach for the Imodium. Your body has something it doesn't want and is trying to get rid of it. Help it along with copious amounts of water to flush your system. Rehydration salts will make you feel better; if you've none try flat cola. Full fat not the diet stuff. Most symptoms only last 12-24 hours.
- Beware the midday sun. Even in Europe and especially at altitude, the sun's strength can catch you unaware.Wear sunscreen, and a hat, and shades. Pack loose fitting long sleeved tops and trousers to cover up.
- If you feel ill, don't suffer in silence. Tell your guide so that they can help to nip problems in the bud.
First Aid Kit
We recommend you always keep a First Aid kit onboard your vehicle, and suggest it contains the following:
- Throat lozenges
- Latex Gloves
- Plasters (Various Sizes)
- Antiseptic Cream
- Rehydration Salts
- Aspirin/Paracetamol/Ibuprofen Painkillers
- Antibiotic Eye Drops
- Sun Cream/Block
- Lip Salve
- Antihistamine Cream
- Antihistamine tablets - Piriteze non-drowsy
- Insect Repellent
- Sting Relief
- Ear Plugs
- Sea Sickness Tablets
- Water Purification Tablets