Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sanitary tips for travellers

Food – uncooked foods aren’t safe, even for healthy people. Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it! is still a valid way of handling foodstuffs abroad. Though standards even in developing countries have improved a lot, it isn’t worth gambling with your health. Raw or undercooked meat, fish, or shellfish, and the sauces that go along and stand around buffets for hours. Warmed scrambled eggs might also be a hazard. Salads are great at home, but might be dangerous at other places around the world. Ice cream, unpasteurized milk and dairy products are also better avoided. Concerning street vendors you may consider buying a false Rolex watch, but don’t consider buying food from street vendors.

Water – water conditions around the world also have improved a lot, but water is still to be considered as a health hazard, especially water from wells or streams; even tap water might not be safe. Bottled water is available nearly everywhere. Check, if the cap is still sealed. Avoid ice cubes; hot tea cools better and doesn’t contain bacteria. Swimming and showering might also allow bacteria or other microbes to enter your body.

Safety of food and water is even more important if you suffer from a disease that affects the immune system or where therapy lowers the ability of the immune system to react to microbes (immune suppressive therapy).

Wash your hands! You’ve touched something, if in doubt, wash your hands.
Take the small amount of hand disinfectant that is allowed on board your aircraft and use it on long flights.
Where lots of people gather, like in queues to board an aircraft or train or at the baggage carrousel, bacteria are exchanged easily. Wear a mouth-pad and try to wait until the mass of people has dispersed.

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