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Travelling abroad
Travelling abroad - whether on business or for pleasure - should be an exciting and enjoyable experience. However, it can carry potential health risks for your family and you. By taking a few simple precautions you can relax, enjoy your trip and make sure you travel healthy. Here are some helpful tips and advice for travellers and an overview of the main travel related diseases. If you require further advice and information, your pharmacist, practice nurse or other qualified medical staff at your doctor's surgery will be happy to help.
Jet Lag
Beat Jet Lag with these top tips

Jet lag can ruin the first few days of a long-awaited holiday, or make an important business trip seem impossibly demanding.

Read on to find out what is thought to cause jet leg, and how you can help avoid it.
What causes jet lag?
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The most important factor in jet lag is how many time zones you cross, and travelling east seems to be worst for most people. Jet lag occurs when you cross over a number of time zones and disrupt the normal 'circadian' rhythms which help you wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night - your 'bodyclock'. That's why if you've travelled from the UK to the west coast of Canada, you'll find you have to eat a huge evening meal when you think you should be eating breakfast!
If you have a rigid routine, it's likely that you might suffer more than someone who adapts easily to change - babies seem to be barely susceptible to jet lag. The symptoms of jet lag can include fatigue or exhaustion, a feeling of disorientation or fuzziness, and the inability to sleep.

You may also feel deyhdrated from being stuck in an air-conditioned cabin for hours, which in turn can cause headaches, make your skin dry and make you more susceptible to colds or viruses.
What can you do to avoid jet lag?
Try these suggestions to help counteract jet lag next time you fly:
  • Change your watch as soon as you get on the flight, the quicker you adapt to the time zone the lower level of jet lag is likely to be.
  • When you arrive in the new time zone spend some time outside during daylight hours. Natural light can help cue your body clock.
  • Try to adjust your bedtime and mealtimes to the new, local timetable as soon as possible it can help to schedule commitments at times when you are likely to have maximum energy: in the evenings, after flying east, or in the mornings, after flying west.
  • The impact of alcohol on the body can be two to three times more potent when you're flying, so one glass of wine in-flight has the effect of two to three glasses on the ground. Avoid feeling even worse with a hangover by reducing alcohol intake before and during your flight.
  • During extended stopovers on a long-haul flight, try to grab a shower: it can really wake up your circulation and get things moving.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Healthy Tips
  • Maintain a weight that's appropriate for your height
  • Avoid sitting or lying in bed for long periods of time without moving the legs.
  • Women, particularly those over the age of 35, should consider the risks and benefits of taking the contraceptive pill
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice.
  • Avoid alcohol, which will dehydrate you more
  • When you are sitting, try moving your ankles around and going up and down on your tiptoes.
  • Get up and move around as often as possible try not to cross your legs do not wear tightly fitting clothes, particularly socks or tights
  • Wear elastic compression stockings to improve circulation
Consult your GP if you think you may be at risk. Most airlines also now provide details on exercises you can perform while flying..
Food, water and personal hygiene advice
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Diseases can be caught from drinking or swimming in contaminated water. Unless you know the water supply is safe where you are staying,only use boiled, bottled orsterilised water, even for cleaning your teeth and avoid ice in cold drinks. Washing of hands after visiting the toilet, before eating or preparing food can reduce your risks ofdiseases spread in this way. Contaminated food is the most common source of many diseases abroad. Travellers' diarrhoea is the most common illness that you will be exposed to abroad. Rehydration is the first line management if you suffer this condition. Medication to stop the diarrhoea is a second line measure and should never be taken if you have a fever or blood in your stool.

Great caution should be given to the use of medication in children and medical advice should be sought.

A woman on the oral contraceptive pill may not be adequately covered if she suffers diarrhoea and vomiting and advice within the pill packet instructions should be followed.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Healthy Tips
  • Maintain a weight that's appropriate for your height
  • Avoid sitting or lying in bed for long periods of time without moving the legs.
  • Women, particularly those over the age of 35, should consider the risks and benefits of taking the contraceptive pill
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice.
  • Avoid alcohol, which will dehydrate you more
  • When you are sitting, try moving your ankles around and going up and down on your tiptoes.
  • Get up and move around as often as possible try not to cross your legs do not wear tightly fitting clothes, particularly socks or tights
  • Wear elastic compression stockings to improve circulation
Consult your GP if you think you may be at risk. Most airlines also now provide details on exercises you can perform while flying..
Food & drink guidelines
  • Only eat well cooked fresh food
  • Avoid leftovers and reheated foods
  • Ensure meat is thoroughly cooked
  • Eat cooked vegetables, avoid salads
  • Only eat fruit you can peel
  • Never drink unpasteurised milk
  • Avoid ice-cream
  • Shellfish is a high risk food
  • Avoid buying food from street vendors' stalls as a general rule
  • Avoid food likely to have been exposed to flies.
  • Always wash your hands after going to the lavatory, before handling food and before eating.
  • If you have any doubts about the water available for drinking, washing food or cleaning teeth, boil it, sterilise it with disinfectant tablets or use bottled water - preferably carbonated with gas - in sealed containers.
  • Avoid ice unless you are sure it is made from treated and chlorinated water. This includes ice used to keep food cool as well as ice in drinks.It is usually safe to drink hot tea or coffee, wine, beer, carbonated water and soft drinks, and packaged or bottled fruit juices.
Useful websites for further information


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