General,  Looking after yourself

Looking After Your Health Abroad

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A holiday abroad is often a chance to relax, but you don’t want to be too relaxed when it comes to your health. If you get sick or injured, it’s important that you’re able to get medical attention. Here are just some precautions that are worth taking when travelling abroad.

Take out travel insurance

Without travel insurance, you’ll likely have to pay for treatment abroad. Even countries with universal healthcare tend not to extend this service to tourists. Unless you’re travelling somewhere particularly dangerous, travel insurance rates are unlikely to be high. A good travel insurance scheme should also cover baggage loss or flight cancellation. Be wary that some banks and health insurance providers may already provide ongoing travel insurance as an extra.

Pack a first aid kit

You should always bring some basic first aid supplies with you in case you get sick or injured. Some of the basic supplies to bring in this first aid kit include plasters, bandages, scissors, tweezers, antiseptic cream and painkillers. You can buy travel first aid kits that contain all of these items. There could be other medication worth bringing including travel sickness pills, contraceptive pills and prescription medication (including medication for allergies).

Research into local medical services

It’s worth researching into local medical services so that if there is an emergency you know where to go. Some places may have medical centre for tourists. In other cases, there may not be a medical centre for several miles (if you’re travelling somewhere remote). The local emergency contact number is also worth looking up so that you know who to dial in an emergency.

Understand the local dangers

Every country has its own local dangers. Make sure to research into these before you travel so that you can take appropriate precautions. Some of the most common dangers to consider include:


Staying hydrated can be vital if you’re visiting somewhere hot. However, you may want to avoid drinking tap water in some countries. The tap water may contain bugs or parasites that your body is not used to, which could result in you spending your holiday on the toilet. Stick to bottled drinking water and avoid having drinks with ice (this ice may simply be frozen tap water). Make sure that you’re not relying solely on coffee and alcoholic drinks – without water you will likely dehydrate yourself.

Sun exposure

If you’ve got a fair complexion, it could be important that you bring sun cream when travelling to a hot country to avoid sunburn. After sun lotion could be worth packing too in case you do get burnt. A pair of shades could also be worth bringing to protect your eyes.

Insect/animal bites

Bites from insects and animals could be a potential danger in some countries. When it comes to mosquitoes, insect spray is worth bringing to reduce the chance of you being bitten. You can also buy ointment for treating bites to stop them getting infected. Malaria is the biggest threat from insect bites – some areas of the world have a malaria problem and you may want to ask your doctor for malaria tablets before you travel. Vaccinations for rabies and other diseases passed via animal bites may also be recommended. 


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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