How to stay healthy while away

Eat and drink safely

(see also food poisoning and/or travellers diarrhoea in ABC Guide)

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food.

  • Select food that has been freshly and thoroughly cooked, and is still steaming hot.

  • Avoid reheated cooked food or cooked food that has been at room temperature for several hours.

  • Avoid uncooked food, apart from fruit and vegetables that you can peel or shell, and avoid fruits with damaged skins. Avoid uncooked leafy vegetables (eg. salads).

  • Avoid dishes containing raw or undercooked eggs.

  • Avoid food bought from street vendors.
  • Avoid ice cream from unreliable sources, including street vendors.
  • In countries where poisonous biotoxins may be present in fish and shellfish, seek advice locally.
  • Boil unpasteurised (raw) milk before consumption.
  • Boil drinking water if its safety is doubtful; if boiling is not possible, a well-maintained filter and/or a disinfectant agent can be used.
  • Bottled or packaged cold drinks are usually safe provided that their seals have not been broken when purchased. Hot beverages are usually safe.
  • Avoid ice unless it has been made from safe water.
  • Avoid brushing teeth with unsafe water.
Act safely

(see also STIs and/or Accident and Injury and/or Hepatitis B in ABC Guide)

  • Ensure you wash your hands.
  • Practise safe sex, wear a condom.
  • Drive safely, wear a seat belt.
  • Avoid skin-piercing activities, such as acupuncture, piercing or tattooing.
Avoid insect bites

(particularly in Malaria Zones - see also ABC Guide)

  • Apply insect repellents every 3–4 hours, e.g. DEET (Rid and Aerogard Tropical strength) to bare skin.
  • Wear protective light coloured clothing (covering arms and legs) at times of the day when insects are active.
  • Stay clear of lakes, irrigation ditches and slow-running streams where insects may breed.
  • Use insecticide vaporisers e.g. mosquito coils.
  • Spray indoor sleeping areas with aerosol insecticide sprays.
  • Use permethrin impregnated mosquito nets for protection during sleep.
  • Choose air-conditioned or screened accommodation whenever possible.
Finding a doctor overseas
  • Ring your travel insurance hotline – they will usually be able to tell you the name of a reliable doctor nearby.
  • Go to an up-market hotel. Hotel doctors are usually reliable.
  • Ring your embassy. The embassy staff will usually recommend a doctor. If there is not local embassy for your citizenship, try one of the major English-speaking embassies, e.g. US, Canadian, British etc.


Back to Checklists and Travel Tips

Back to top