I should start by making a disclaimer at the beginning of this post. What you’re about to read doesn’t invalidate (on the contrary) that you do a Pre-Travel Consultation. Talking with a doctor will make you able to find every solution for your medical needs, taking into consideration your travel destination.
That said, let’s get started!
Booking a Pre-Travel Consultation
I’m Portuguese, so the solutions I present here are for my country. But ask your doctor or local health center what are your options.
In my case, there are several. From the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in Lisbon, to the website consultadoviajante.com. The big difference here is the price charged for the medical appointment.
Incredibly, I got the best of both worlds! I checked my local health center and, surprise, they have available the Pre-Traveler Consultation!
And so it was: for € 4.50 I had the consultation, with a spectacular doctor, who spared no effort to advise me in the best way. A big thank you to Dr. Daniela Sá!
Medications and Vaccination
As you must understand, in this field I can’t give you any advice, because each case is different.
Depending on where you are traveling, the doctor will advise and prescribe according to the types of illnesses that exist in the destination country.
If you are a frequent traveler, it’s never too much to tell about the vaccination you have taken before. There are vaccines that you only have to take once in your lifetime.
Water and Food Hygiene
There are two factors that can negatively influence a trip: food and mosquitoes, which are the major carriers of diseases.
Let’s start with the first. Here are the tips:
- Drink water and bottled drinks, properly sealed. If it’s not possible, boil the water (5 to 10 ‘) and/or disinfect it;
- Do not use ice;
- Choose fruits that you can peel or disinfect;
- Eat well-cooked foods and avoid raw ones;
- Think twice before eating in street vendors or in places with poor hygiene.
Of course, when the temperature is close to 40º Celsius, it’s sometimes hard to remember that the ice-cold drink our body craves for has… ice. And there come all the repercussions that make the bathroom the most visited place of your trip.
In the case of severe diarrhea, there are also tips to share:
- Drink lots of fluids (no ice, okay!)
- Relieve symptoms with an anti-diarrheal. But, if you have a fever or diarrhea persists for more than 3 days, consult a doctor.
As far as mosquitoes are concerned, and according to what Dr. Sá said, there are different species, active at different times of the day. So don’t think you should only be careful in the morning or at the end of the day.
Here are some ideas to take into account:
- Prefer light-colored clothing, protecting most of the body;
- Apply repellent to all exposed areas;
- Renew the application every 3 or 4 hours;
- Use the repellent as the last application i.e. put the moisturizer or sunscreen and only apply the repellent after. Think of it as a protective shield!
- Look for the DEET, IR 3535 or Icaridina compounds in the repellent products;
- Whenever possible use a mosquito net or, if possible, air conditioning. Better to have the AC on 18º Celsius and wear a sweater;
- You can always use insecticides or electric diffusers as additional protection and avoid open doors and windows whenever possible.
Still to take from the Pre-Traveler Consultation
If, like me, you are sensitive to the sun, be sure to choose a suitable sunscreen for your skin and high SPF.
Also remember to avoid swimming, fishing or walking barefoot in rivers or lakes.
What to take on your medical kit?
After the Pre-Travel Consultation, the next stop was at the pharmacy to buy the prescribed medications and fill out our Basic Traveler Medical Kit, which should contain:
- Usual medication
- First aid articles
- Insect Repellent
- Analgesics and antipyretics
- Antidiarrheal and oral rehydration salts
- Antibiotic (prescribed by the doctor)
- Anti-malarial (if applicable and prescribed by the doctor)
- Condoms (the safest method of contraception)
If you don’t want to take all the tips I indicate here, I’ll give you one last piece of advice: use your common sense! Always remember that you probably had to save a lot of money or give up many things to make the trip, so don’t throw it all away.
And so you don’t forget what you read here, you can download the pamphlet I prepared for you for free!
Have a nice trip!
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