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.
(see also STIs and/or Accident and Injury and/or Hepatitis B in ABC Guide)
Avoid insect bites
- 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.
(particularly in Malaria Zones - see also ABC Guide)
Finding a doctor overseas
- 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.
- 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.
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