Eight top honeymoon health tips
17 Jan 2018
The last thing you want is for your honeymoon to go badly wrong because of a medical issue, so here are eight top health tips to ensure it goes without a hitch
Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, director and GP at Your Doctor, offers his 10 top health tips while travelling to ensure your honeymoon runs as smoothly as possible.
Seek advice from your GP at least eight weeks prior to your trip to ensure you know what you need, what the risks are at your holiday destination, and so that you can make an appointment in advance and the vaccinations have time to work. For general travel information try www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx.
The following travel vaccinations are usually available free on the NHS: diphtheria, polio and tetanus (combined vaccine and usually booster as all children will had this as part of primary immunisation programme in UK), typhoid and sometimes hepatitis A as it is a combined vaccine. Cholera is also available. You are likely to have to pay for other vaccinations privately.
If you have a phobia of vaccination needles, discuss with a health expert prior to the date of vaccination the best way to manage the situation. Choose an environment which is not busy or crowded and where you are not rushed.
2. Sun safety
In hot climates try and be in the shade particularly between 11am and 3pm and make sure you never burn by covering up, wearing a wide brimmed hat and using at least factor 15 sunscreen. Remember to reapply after being in water and also to reapply frequently during time exposed. Even not having proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn, so always apply sunscreen here and wear UV filtered sunglasses.
If you do get burnt, try having a light shower with cool water and apply after-sun or calamine lotion. Ibuprofen could help reduce inflammation caused by sunburn, but seek medical help if you feel unwell. Extra care should be taken if you have paler skin, freckles, red or fair hair, have many moles, or if there is a family history of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia. Skin can burn in just 15 minutes in the summer sun, so take extra care.
3. Antimalarial medication
This varies in how long you should take them for and how far in advance you should take them. Antimalarial pills are also not 100% effective and there is increasing resistance to them, so always try to take precautions to stop yourself being bitten. Mosquitoes carrying the disease often bite after sunset and so it is a good idea to wear strong repellent and long sleeved clothes after sunset. The Advisory Committee for Malaria Prevention (ACMP) strongly recommends DEET-based insect repellents. There are also diseases spread through mosquitos that bite during the day (such as Dengue fever) so avoidance measures should be used during day.
4. Travel diarrhoea
In areas where it is difficult to maintain good hygiene and sanitation, travellers are advised to take precautions with food to ensure it is uncontaminated and cooked thoroughly and that all water has been purified. Always carry sanitising gel or hand wipes. Ensure that clean dishes, cups and utensils are used; use alcohol wipes to clean them if necessary.
Where possible, choose food that is freshly cooked to a high temperature and served immediately while still hot. Be especially cautious with street vendors selling cheese, ice cream, fish and shellfish, salads and fresh herbs (included in drinks) and fruit. Boiled and bottled water (with intact seal) are usually safe, as are hot tea and coffee, beer and wine. Do not use ice in drinks unless in an established hotel chain. There is an effective antibiotic used for severe cases of travellers’ diarrhoea called Ciprofloxacin. Most cases of traveller diarrhoea are not in fact due to infection but due to the change in mineral content of the water.
5. Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you are at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), seek advice from your GP. Long haul passengers should regularly walk around and stretch their legs on long flights, drink water and preferably avoid alcohol. Wear loose comfortable clothing and anti-DVT special socks. If you have a family history of thrombosis or have had a DVT previously, always consult your doctor before travel. Seek medical advice if planning to travel within a month of abdominal or leg surgery
6. Managing jetlag
There is no magic solution to avoid jetlag but ensure that you adjust your time to local time and try to keep active until bedtime. You can use an antihistamine such as Piriton as it has mild sedative properties. For some, it could take a day per hour difference to adjust to time changes.
7. Travel insurance
Make sure you have sufficient travel insurance to cover medical emergencies quickly and efficiently. Take the relevant forms with you.
8. Take medicine with you
Always take a travel first aid kit with you. This may include paracetamol, anti-inflammatories, thermometer, plasters, antiseptic cream, dressings, antihistamines if you are prone to allergies, and travel sickness pills.