Be advised that the medical systems of other countries are often very different than what we are accustomed to. Many countries have national health insurance plans and if you are not a citizen, you are expected to pay cash before services are rendered–even emergency services. This can result in delays or denials of the receipt of medical care. In some areas of the world, the medical care system is so primitive by Western standards that you would be safer to have some basic medicines with you and treat yourself rather than go to a local hospital. And lastly, in more countries than people realize, blood supplies are not screened, syringes and needles are reused and medical supplies and specialists are not available. Even something as routine as a broken leg can become a life-threatening emergency, depending on where in the world you are.
Airplane travel presents several medical challenges in itself. Airplane cabin pressure at cruising altitudes is equivalent to that at about 6,000 feet–about the elevation of Denver, Colo. Some people with lung disease, such as emphysema and bronchitis, may have a difficult time breathing at this altitude. In addition, if you take a tranquilizer, antihistamine or consume alcohol to sleep on the plane, it could intensify breathing problems. Jet lag, particularly when flying east, is a true medical condition. It upsets the internal biological clock, and fatigue for several days can result. Some medicines and nutrients have recently been shown to help alleviate this condition. Your doctor can prescribe or recommend the best course of action.
Malaria, viral encephalitis; hepatitis and parasites are real medical concerns in over one-half of the world. However, pre-trip preparation with medications and vaccines can readily be done. The most common health threat is drinking water from local sources. Precautions about using bottled water, not eating vegetables or fruits unless peeled, and eating foods cooked well done (140 degrees) can save you from a serious medical problem. Also, it is a universally good practice when traveling outside of Western countries to get a hepatitis A vaccination. The series of two injections provides long-lasting protection from this ubiquitous, troublesome virus and is effective in over 95 percent of the vaccinations.
Temperature can be a major health threat if you are going to be outside for a prolonged period of time (winter holidays). Remember that cold, altitude and sunshine can combine to cause hypotherreia (low body temperature), sun/windburn and breathing problems. Prepare by using proper clothing and eye protection, and consider a medication to acclimate your system to altitude. If you are going to a tropical area, consider how heat and humidity affect you, your susceptibility to insects and diseases, your reaction to intense sunshine and other variable conditions of your guest country. Prepare by taking along medicines, sunscreens, insect repellent and appropriate clothing.
Besides physical conditions and disease, there are other considerations that impact your health abroad-vehicular accidents and assault. Even in Western countries (England), driving can be hazardous. Local customs and vehicles (such as bicycles in China) present a real challenge. Laws regarding accident liability (all parties are guilty till proven otherwise in Mexico) need to be kept in mind. Also, tourists make attractive targets for pickpockets, muggets, thieves and burglars in many areas of the world (like the USA).
Finally, consider a fail-safe position, the purchase of a medical-assistance program and evacuation insurance. There are several companies that operate worldwide, and for a nominal amount, they assist with whatever type of medical or travel problem you may encounter. These companies are set up so that a call to an 800 or collect telephone number will provide you referrals to doctors, assistance regarding your specific medical problem and information about the quality and location of medical services close to you.
They can also manage evacuation to better facilities, assist with logistics of getting a medical team and plane together, getting all of the necessary equipment ready, etc. Some plans even cover the cost of evacuations, which may not be covered under your normal health insurance. Travel agencies, travel clinics, embassies, etc. can recommend these programs before you travel.
Remember, only you are responsible for your own good health. A little planning and preparation and realizing your own medical limitations can make you a knowledgeable, savvy and safe traveler. This knowledge (and a little insurance) is something you should not travel without.
Computers At Risk
Of course, if you are like most people, you like to travel with a laptop. It is always important to make sure that you have all of the data on your laptop backed up you want to make sure that it is safe when you return. The problem with traveling is that you are probably going to find yourself in a lot of foreign environments and your data it may actually be at risk. This is why it is always good idea to have all the contact details for pretty solid hard drive recovery service provider. One of the things that seem to happen quite a bit when you’re traveling is that you get confused and drop things. This is actually a really bad thing because your hard drive is a critical part of your laptop. You do not want to lose all of your cool travel photos and all of the other items that you on the drive, so make sure that you at least taken many steps you can sit protect your hard disk. You’ll find that after your trip is done you’ll be a lot happier about the whole thing.