How to Deal with Health Issues while Traveling around Europe


Here are twelve important matters you should consider when travelling around Europe.

1. HIV and AIDS: The HIV virus is present, and cases of infection are increasing, in every European country. The main ways of catching the virus are sexual contact with an infected person, sharing infected needles when misusing illegal drugs and from medical or dental equipment which has been inadequately sterilised. Take the same precautions you would at home.

2. Rabies: Rabies is present throughout all of Europe except the UK and Ireland, although the risk is minimal in most places. Just in case, the best precaution is to avoid coming into contact with any animal, especially wild and stray animals. If you are bitten by any animal clean the wound immediately with soap and water, seek medical advice and inform the police.

3- Sunburn: Remember that the sun becomes stronger the further south you travel. If you wish to sunbathe always use a sunscreen cream and, preferably, stay out of the sun altogether during the hottest part of the day (noon-3pm).

4. Food safety: The chance of contracting food poisoning varies from country to country. It tends to be greater in countries with lower standards of public hygiene and in warmer climates which, coincidentally, tend to be the souther European countries. The best way of minimising the risk is always to eat in the cleanest establishments you can afford^if the dining area looks dirty the kitchens are probably dirtier). Avoid street vendors. Also try to eat only food which has been freshly cooked.

5. Water safety: Although mains water is supposedly safe to drink in all European countries it can easily become contaminated once it has left the mains supply. It is best not to drink this water unless / a reliable person assures you it is safe to do so. Drink bottled water and well-known canned drinks where possible. Tap water of unknown purity can also be sterilised to kill most bacteria by heating it to a temperature of 100°c for at least two minutes.

6. Traveller’s diarrhoea: If you are worried about the prospect of diarrhoea then pack an anti-diarrhoea preparation such as loperamide (sold as Arret or Imodium) in your backpack. This should only be given to adults. If contracting diarrhoea it is also important to drink plenty of clean water as, otherwise, dehydration can become a serious problem, especially in warm climates. If you suffer bloody diarrhoea and severe abdominal pain you should seek medical help.

7. Insect hazards: Serious insect-borne diseases do not exist anywhere in Europe, east or west. Many places in southern Europe are plagued by mosquitoes and although these, fortunately, do not carry malaria their bites can still result in uncomfortable, itchy wounds. If visiting such places take an insect repellent. Also keep as much skin as possible covered during the night, which is when mosquitoes bite.

Ticks which transmit rick-borne encephalitis (TBE) are present V in some forested areas, mainly in Scandinavia, in summer.  If visiting such areas use an insect repellent and keep skin covered when walking or hiking.

8- Snakes: You shouldn’t encounter any dangerous reptiles in any part of Europe. However, it is always a good idea to avoid all wild animal life when travelling in any country.

9. Sea dangers: The main sea hazards for swimmers and watersports enthusiasts in Europe are pollution and sea life, such as jellyfish and stonefish. The best way to avoid these risks is to only swim on lifeguard patrolled beaches, which are usually also free from pollution and most animal hazards, especially in locations which the locals use. Avoid swimming in all rivers and lakes.

Finally, remember that many severe injuries are caused every year to those who dive into the sea, rivers, lakes and swimming pools which are too shallow.

10. Sporting dangers: You may wish to pursue your favourite sports whilst travelling. Remember, however, that safety standards leave much to be desired in some parts of Europe, especially around the Mediterranean. If you wish to go parascending, skiing, waterskiing, scuba diving etc, always use a reputable club or school. Make sure your insurance covers you for these – most policies do not unless you pay an extra premium.

11. Dehydration: If travelling from a cool climate to a warm one remember that dehydration can occur very quickly and, in extreme cases, can develop into a severe medical condition. Always ensure your intake of fluids is adequate. In a hot climate you should normally aim to consume at least 10 litres of clean water (as opposed to alcohol or fruit drinks) per 24 hours.

12. Travel sickness: The best way to avoid travel sickness is to sleep as much as possible during the journey. Avoid reading. Suitable medicines you could try include Dramamine, Stugeron and Kwells. If you are especially prone to travel sickness you could ask your doctor about Scopoderm skin patches.

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About the Author: Carl Tackett is a travel enthusiast. He has traveled to over 50 destinations all over the world. Currently, he is residing in England. He loves to write about traveling and helping fellow travelers.

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