Travel Health: 7 Tips to a Happy Ending


Health and tourism are connected in many ways; from travelers going off on vacations in search of psychological refreshment to medical tourism and the uniquely independent topic on diseases and travel. The later has in recent years gained more attention with soaring numbers of travelers (1.1 billion according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer 2014) increasing the risk of spread and related tourism crises. Take for instance the Ebola break out in the Western Africa Region, or the SARS epidemic in Asia. While the specific regions bore the heat of the crises, its domino-effect on global tourism was felt to the farthest corners of the travel-circuit. This week,, the leading online hotel booking site explores measures that you can observe while travelling to keep your health in tip-top condition.

Make sure you get your travel jabs

Vaccinations fall into two categories; the recommended and the required. While there are no two ways around required vaccines (you can’t go across border without a stamp of the vaccination), recommended vaccinations are mostly issued by the Center for Disease Control, depending on the origin and intended destination of the traveler. For instance, while travelers headed to Kenya must get vaccinated against measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), CDC recommends a jab against malaria as well as Hepatitis A.

Down to the specifics

Every traveler is unique; make time for a close and candid talk with your doctor so as to get the specifics of your medical history, as well as possible itinerary. For instance, a backpacker exploring theSamburu interiors or camping up inVirunga will most definitely have different vaccination needs from a corporate executive attending a roundtable in one of the high-end uptown five stars. Again, age, chronic conditions and general risk-factor will also play a role in determining what a traveler may require to safeguard their health.

Pack your Home Remedies and supplements

Forewarned is forearmed. The wisdom in this age-old idiom is that you can possibly deflect almost any incident or accident given the necessary precautions. Do pack your sleeping pills, find space for your inhalers and rubs if need be, pack your vitamins if this is your routine and for ladies, pack your personal effects as necessary. All I’m saying is, unless you are familiar and certain with the destination, do not deliberately leave your life-support remedies with the thought of purchasing new stocks along the journey or at your destination.

Always Prepared: Travel like a scout

Basic first aid know-how sounds like just any other skill; until it’s the only option you have. Seemingly basic daily activities can turn hazardous within a blink of an eye. For instance, your child may choke, your partner may sprain his or her ankle while burns and bites are also not so farfetched. The best practice is to get into the habit of learning and refreshing your skills from time to time. The Red Cross Society has very insightful and easy to follow guidelines on first aid which are easily found online. Grasp each of this by taking tests for every aid class/training taken.

If you suspect it, keep walking

If the food doesn’t look clean; chances are it is not. If that bottled water looks suspicious, don’t bother to check the seal. Apart from the obvious, check the general cleanliness of the place you are staying and the sanitation levels of the premise. You may not be in a position to dig into minutiae of the kitchen and patisserie matters, but it takes no scientist to know the cutlery should not be stained and the wine glasses should not be wet.

Voluntary vs involuntary threats

While most countries, at least those signed with the UN World Tourism Council will take extra measures including sealing off borders in times of health crises and epidemics; travelers are advised to be both proactive and cautious in regard to their health. Travel is known to inject some kind of ‘high’ in most people, and while others retain their sanity; some take this opportunity to engage in activities they would not think of back home. Reckless sexual encounters, drugs and other dangerous activities fall under voluntary health threats. Another first growing frontier contributing to voluntary threats is adventure tourism which mostly calls on individuals to participate in high adrenaline, nerve-racking extreme sporting. Although providers of the latter are expected to provide protection and advise the participators accordingly, the danger and threat in the activities could be life threatening.

Your transport:

From flying to cycling, the risk is distinctive. Medical reports indicate that as many as 10% of long haul fliers are at risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) due to the long seating hours in clamped space. Gastrointestinal illnesses are quite a common occurrence on cruise ships as is rodent infestation in some airport lounges. Land transport is not left out either, with road collisions being a major cause of death on the highway. Whichever mode you settle for, aim to have all basic and standard requirements fulfilled and certified to minimize chances of possible accidents.

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  1. Avatar George Kinyua July 3rd, 2012 at 10:28 am

    dont these guys know that we are helpless and cannot defend ourselves that much? dealing with al shabaab has proven hard…what about iran? wooooiiii…

  2. Avatar upuzi_tele July 3rd, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Blame the coward Kibaki government that practicess the see no even, hear no evil and say no evil style of leadership. Bure Kabisa.

  3. Avatar Kamaa July 3rd, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Israel sd leave Kenya alone, they should not draw us into their stupid fights. If I were in power I wd ask Israel to leave Kenya and severe any relations, wise countries choose to keep them away. 1st they believe they are superior to everone, 2nd I see no benefits frm them just trouble.

    1. Avatar kituku j July 3rd, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      so youd rather side with the terrorists: iran, hamas, hezbollah, al-shabaab etc. Think about the future generations at risk of the latter

      1. Avatar Kamaa July 3rd, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        Its not abt siding with anyone, its abt fighting your own wars. If indeed its true, if kenya did not have any relationship with israel, kikambala wd not have happened. I think its stupid to be used for proxy wars, we are already too poor and on top of that we start israeli war? and I might add if kenya burns, we cannot find refuge in israel. If kenya continues in this tread we will never know peace. The war in middle east is too complex for us to handle.

  4. Avatar Tony Kasavu July 3rd, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Tell those persians to leave Kenya alone. We have the right to choose whom to deal with. Threats of terror not withstanding. Kenya for Kenyans Not for persians. Fight your wars with israel on your soil or on israeli soil and NOT Kenyan soil.


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