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  • Top 5 travel health myths

    photo by palindrome6996 on Flickr

    There’s nothing worse then a holiday spent fretting about germs, infections, viruses and the various toxic (or other) kinds of waste that you might unwittingly ingest while you’re in a foreign country whose health care system you don’t really know, and whose language you don’t speak.

    It’s completely understandable to worry about such things (you do want to get home in one piece, naturally), but some of the health related issues that we worry about while traveling are actually not that horrible or life-threatening.

    If you’re prone to excessive worrying about the well-being of your limbs and organs while you’re away on a trip, here are top 5 travel myths that you should know – and this way you’ll be able to worry about things that really matter.

    Anti-malarial pills save you from malaria

    Malaria is one of those diseases that every sensible traveler freaks out about, at least a bit. Even people who don’t travel much know that you should always take anti-malarial pills if you go to a country where you’re exposed to the risk of malaria, right? Well, yes, but although these pills are helpful, they will not keep you entirely safe. There’s no reason to panic though – just cover up exposed areas when traveling to malaria hotspots, and stop worrying and enjoy your holiday.

    Only dogs can give you rabies

    Here’s a traveling nightmare: you pet a cute dog while traveling off the beaten track in some beautiful country, but the doggie turns into a bloodthirsty beast that bites you and gives you rabies. The first thing to do, of course, is to urgently get to a doctor and get your anti-rabies shots done and hope for the best.

    But you can prevent this by taking a 3 week anti-rabies vaccine treatment before you go on holiday. And most importantly? Kitties, monkeys, bats and a score of other creatures can give you rabies, not only dogs.

    Street food will kill you (or almost)

    Street food is as much loved as it is reviled by different travelers, because those delicious little bites that you can get for cheap on the street are supposedly rife with all sorts of poisonings waiting to happen. False. Food poisoning can happen when the germs (which are always there, and there to stay) in food are different from the germs in the food back home, to which you are used to. Michelin restaurants can give you food poisoning just as well as street food.

    Hand sanitizers are better than water

    Hand sanitizers are now a permanent fixtures in most travelers’ luggage, but these useful little bottles are not the be all and end all of hygiene and they will never replace soap and water. If there’s no soap or water to be found, they are great, but otherwise? Stick to traditional hand washing.

    Bedbugs make you sick

    Bedbugs (which can be found anywhere, regardless whether clean or dirty), don’t actually spread disease. The bites will itch and burn, but unlike with mosquitoes or ticks, you’re at least in no danger of ending up with some mysterious transmittable disease.


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