If you haven’t traveled to Asia before your first trip is always an eye opener.
Most parts, aside from the big cities, are third world and developing countries… Singapore and Hong Kong are not but most other places are. Asia has done a massive catch up with the rest of the world and each country is slightly different than the next. Same same but different.
These are some essentials that I suggest you travel with:
Mozi born diseases such as denghue and malaria are alive and well in most parts of Asia. They breed in wet areas and there is plenty of rain around so avoiding them is almost impossible. It used to be you only had to be cautious on sunset/dusk but denghue mosquitos bite during the day.
You can use natural ones like tea tree and apparently (although I haven’t tried it) baby oil or coconut oil is a good barrier too.
First Aid Kit
It doesn’t have to be over the top but scratches that get infected are really common. Last year when I broke my toes in Bali the biggest risk was infection. Clean wounds quickly (use bottled water not tap waters) and cover so they don’t get infected. If they start to get infected use some betadine or dettol, whatever your kit has in it or natural agents, like diluted tea tree or neem and keep it clean.
Infections are rampant – they start off red, sore and create pus. There are medical centres every where so if in doubt go to one. Don’t end up with septicaemia because you didn’t think an infection might kill you. It can.
Tampons with an inserter.
Sorry guys this is for the girls. Personal hygiene is a little bit of a challenge here so stay ahead of the ball game and use this applicators. They are really expensive so bring them from home. But the good thing is they offer some hygiene when some of the toilets are really unhygienic.
It depends a little on what you are doing while in Asia but there are lots of tropical diseases and there are many effective vaccines for these. Hep B, Hep A, Cholera etc… The vaccine debate is interesting but I would suggest to see a travel medicine doctor if you are traveling to Asia to see what they recommend.
A solid bout of gastroenteritis is the most likely thing that is going to wreck your Asian holiday. With hot temperature and dodgy cooking preparation (by Western standard) it’s easy to pick up gastro (viral or bacterial).
You ned to get on top of it quickly.
This trip I have used charcoal tablets – really effective and a probiotic. You can use immodium but it can block you up and leave the infection in your gut… there are all sorts of fluid and hydration drinks to take and these are a good idea – better than trying to hydrate with coke or alcohol. Double your water intake.
If it is really bad (sweats, feeling faint, passing out) go to a medical facility. I had a healthy bout of gastro in Nepal this year and thought I was going to die. It took massive antibiotics and antifungals and I made it through. But people do die from these things and you need to be smart about it.
I think those are the essentials. Things have come a long way in Asia so unless you are going off the beaten trail most things are available at pharmacies and convenience stores. Have fun and try to NOT get sick!
Being a naturopath with a wellness clinic I get asked this a lot.
“What health supplements should I take away with me?”
These are my top three supplements to travel with:
An immune booster
Long haul flights, confined spaces, dirty conditions, the fact many people don’t wash their hands – if you travel you will be exposed to bugs and viruses.
If you couple the extra exposure with a run down immune system which often happens when we travel (poor sleep, burning the candle at both ends, less nutrition than home) we are sitting ducks for infections.
I suggest taking either a strong vitamin C, something with zinc in it, or echinacea/andrographis/garlic/olive leaf complex to keep your immunity in tact.
2. A probiotic
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria you can swallow in a capsule or with fermented foods. They play an important role in protecting us through protecting our gut wall. They are like our own silent army.
Unfortunately our healthy bacteria get knocked around with long distance travel, stress, gut viruses (eg gastro) and many other things Taking a probiotic while you travel is good sense.
They should be kept in a fridge to keep the bacteria dormant, but if they warm up that is ok, just make sure they are all finished within 60 days.
3. A good multivitamin
Even though most people find travel fun it is often far from relaxing. There are many reasons for that but the added stress of finding locations, foreign transport, long travel times etc takes a toll. Finding healthy food can also be a challenge when you are not a local. The sum affect is becoming tired and ill.
A multivitamin will make sure your body receives all necessary (and the extra) vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.
There are other supplements that I suggest from time to time. I usual travel with the above plus a CoQ10 supplement and liver support.
CoQ10 is a very good anti-oxidant (cancer protection) and good for energy.
I like the liver support if I am partying and traveling to lots of locations. Our livers filter everything so it doesn’t hurt to give it some extra love from time to time.
I only use “practitioner only products” which you can order through me (just drop me an email) as they are stronger, usually greater cost efficiency and have better quality control.