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08 December 2023

Government's health guide for travelers

By Wam

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) today released a list of health tips for travelers this summer, where it recommends visiting a travelers health clinic ahead of departure to receive pre-travel counseling, and any immunisations necessary to protect against communicable diseases.

Regarding jet lag, a common physiological condition resulting in sleep and gastrointestinal disorders, lack of concentration, fatigue and general weakness that occurs when travelling as a result of a disruption in the body's circadian rhythms, or 'body clock', MoHAP recommends to get adequate sleep, rest during long trips, drink plenty of fluids, avoid coffee, tea and other stimulants, as well as eat healthily.

Motion or travel sickness can also strike travelers, with repeated movement causing the body's sensory organs to send mixed messages to the brain, triggering various symptoms like dizziness, tiredness, nausea, headache and vomiting.

In order to relieve those symptoms, MoHAP recommends to change where you are sitting and avoid eating immediately before your trip, chew gum or mint candy to help with symptoms, or consult a doctor to prescribe a drug that relieves the symptoms of vertigo.

Sitting for long periods of time can cause a disturbance of the cardiovascular system, which might lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is one of the factors that can lead to blood clotting in deep veins, especially in the legs. To avoid the condition, MoHAP advises travelers to walk almost every three hours or do chair exercises on a regular basis, and wear loose clothing.

There are also health concerns triggered by the environment, including health symptoms associated with high altitudes and when climbing the highlands. Those include fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and loss of appetite.

MoHAP advises travelers to consult with a doctor - especially those suffering from heart or respiratory diseases - and to take into account drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, as well as avoid smoking and alcohol.

The Ministry also recommends to avoid direct contact with animals - especially in places where rabies is prevalent - and to consult a doctor immediately following an exposure to an animal or insect bite, and wash the infected area using a sterile solution.

"In the event of traveling to mosquito-infested areas, the traveler may need to use protective doses for mosquito bites and to wear long-sleeved clothing."

Furthermore, some travelers may experience symptoms due to a severe temperature imbalance, which can lead to serious health problems, the Ministry said. Travelers are advised to avoid exposure to direct sunlight for long periods, use protective creams, wear a head cover and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

MoHAP went on to highlight that travelers may come into contact with food-borne and contaminated water diseases that can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, fever, or vomiting.

Therefore, it said, "take into account to drink enough water from reliable sources, and eat healthy food and inquire about the contents in meals."

The Ministry said that travelers should also avoid food sold by street vendors as it could risk food poisoning, and to refrain from eating salads and uncooked meats and produce.

Finally, the Ministry reminded of the importance of getting vaccinated before traveling to avoid some food-borne diseases.