Overseas Aid: Staying Healthy Abroad

Don't let falling ill abroad ruin your race - we've come to the rescue



by Roy Stevenson

Sprained ankle

It's easy to turn your ankle when you're tired. If it swells up immediately, apply ice as soon as possible and wrap it in a bandage to minimise further swelling.

At night, rest your foot on a pillow at a level higher than your heart. Ankle sprains respond well to anti-inflammatory medications, which you should have packed in your first aid kit. If you have not packed a first aid kit you're being a bit silly.

Head cold

These can be picked up when your immune system is lowered from jet lag and fatigue. Being cooped up in a plane for several hours, where the air is hardly mountain-top fresh, doesn't help.

Drink plenty of fluids, gargle with warm salt water or take throat lozenges
to soothe a sore throat. 

Sunburn

Prevention is better than slapping on the aloe vera afterwards. Avoid running (and seek shade) between 10am and 4pm, when the sun's rays are strongest. On hot, sunny days, wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing and slap sunscreen on exposed and unexposed skin. For headwear, a light baseball-style cap is a good choice.

The higher the SPF (sun protection factor) in your sunscreen, the better. Use a broad-screen (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with the highest SPF you can find. Be generous when applying; most people only use a quarter of the amount needed. Apply it 30 minutes before you go out and then every two hours, more frequently if you've been sweating a lot.

If the damage is done, drink water or sports drinks to replace lost body fluids. Taking paracetemol will reduce your headache, chills or fever. A cool bath will ease the pain; apply a light moisturiser afterwards. Stay out of the sun while your sunburn is healing, or cover it up

Travel insurance

Check your travel insurance policy for provisions regarding health cover. Discover why you need travel insurance for a triathlon aroad.

For more information go to www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk


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