Are You Fit For Travel?


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When the 2017 calendar was published, there was one thing we all looked for – guess, guess? Yes, the holiday list and the possibility of long weekends. Surprisingly we have around 12 possibilities to have long weekends this year.

Now holiday list is out, what would be your next obvious plan? Travel, Yay! Yes, so with travel on your mind you set out to plan where you would like to spend your holidays this year. Apart from thinking about the budget (tickets/hotel), visa, there is something else you must divert your attention to. Your health. A holiday is never a holiday if we fall sick before or during the trip. We always think of it as a waste of money and time. Yes, it is true that you can never predict when you can fall sick, but you can atleast take some precautions right?

Here are 5 pointers that you can check out to ensure you are Fit For Travel!

1. Find out about travel vaccines




First of all, after you decide on the country/place you will be visiting, make sure you find out if there are any compulsory vaccines needed to be taken before you arrive there. Not sure where you can find this information? Check out Fit For Travel brought to you by GetDoc, powered by NHS.

2. Consult your Doctor about necessary medication




Some countries can be a risk especially if malaria is prevalent there. If so, consult your doctor whether you need to start medication before travelling.

3. Pack your travel health kit


Preparing a kit of travel health essentials, including sunscreen, painkillers and antiseptic is recommended.



The contents of a travel health kit can vary according to your destination(s). In general, a basic kit can include the following:

A basic first aid kit can contain:

  • antiseptic

  • painkillers

  • wound-cleaning gauze

  • bandage tape

  • sterile dressings, plasters

  • tweezers, scissors

  • thermometer

  • antihistamines

  • sunburn treatment

  • insect repellent, insect bite treatment

  • medication for pre-existing medical conditions


Travellers who take medication according to a strict timetable, such as insulin or oral contraceptives, should seek medical advice from a health professional before their journey.

Depending on where you will be heading, also consider including the following to your packing list:

  • anti-malaria medication

  • mosquito net

  • anti-diarrhoea medication

  • rehydration sachets


4. Sun protection/Sunscreen is important




If you are visiting a tropical region, ideally your travel kit must include a sunscreen. Temperatures can soar in the tropical region and if you are not used to that kind of heat, the sunscreen will definitely be necessary. Also people in some regions which experience cold climes do wear sunblock depending on how much they will be outside in the sun (during winter). This holds good especially when you are thinking of skiing holidays in the mountains.

Winter skin is more sensitive to sun than tanned summer skin. This is due to the fact that the skin is not used anymore to UV radiation and melanin concentration is reduced. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its colour, so also hair and eyes. Dark skinned people have more melanin in their skin as opposed to light-skinned people.

Tanning of the skin occurs in response to UV light in order to protect the skin cells from the damaging UV radiation. UVA radiation is the major trigger of skin ageing and UVB radiation causes sunburn. Since there is less UV radiation during winter, the skin produces less melanin and therefore, the skin is not only less tanned, but also more sensitive to UV radiation, especially on a day with a lot of sunshine. So wear the sunblock as necessary.

Your sunscreen label should have the following information:

  • the letters "UVA" in a circle logo and at least four-star UVA protection

  • at least SPF15 sunscreen to protect against UVB


5. How to handle issues encountered during the flight


Some of the issues that you encounter when on the flight include jet lag, lack of sleep and sometimes you could develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Jet lag is worse when you move from west to east because the body finds it harder to adapt to a shorter day than a longer one.

Alternately, you could try to get enough sleep before you travel, so you remain fresh. During the flight you could do the following, to prevent yourself from getting tired and jetlagged.

  • Stay hydrated - Drink plenty of fluids – water, juices are the best, try to avoid alcohol as it can worsen jet lag symptoms. ensure you're well hydrated before, during and after your flight

  • Take rest during the flight - take short naps during the flight even if it is a short one

  • Limit your caffeine consumption - avoid drinking too many caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and cola, and avoid drinking them within a few hours of planned sleep.

  • Keep active - when on long haul flights, take short walks around the cabin and stretch your arms and legs while you are seated; this will also help reduce your risk of developing a potentially serious condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Change your watch to match the time of your new destination - this will help you adjust to your new time zone more quickly, atleast mentally ;)


We hope these tips will help you plan your travel better to ensure you are Fit For Travel.


Hridya Anand

by Hridya Anand

A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.




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