Dealing With Extreme Temperatures

When it comes to traveling to places that are either ridiculously hot or obscenely cold, even the most seasoned traveler can find himself in harm’s way. Whether you’re going on an Antarctic expedition or will be working on a farm in Ecuador, you should always prepare in advance for the weather you’re going to face and learn how to handle emergency medical situations.

So if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in any type of extreme weather, here are some tips to help you get ready writes the

Hot Weather While travelers spending most of their time by the beach or taking short walking tours are at minimal risk for heat illness, activities that exert a lot of energy, such as strenuous hiking and biking, can have a detrimental effect on the body. Heat illnesses depend on three things: environmental conditions, intensity of exercise, and your hydration level.

Before You Go Acclimatization is key for getting your body ready to handle the heat. Exercise one to two hours a day in hot weather ten days prior to your trip. If you’re unable to do so, make sure you limit the intensity and duration of your vacation activity to 30-90 minute periods and take breaks in between. Wear lightweight, loose, and light-colored clothes to aid air circulation and optimize protection from the sun. Additionally, fluids will be vital to staying healthy and preventing illness. Be sure to drink plenty of water, sports drinks, and have salty snacks on standby. And as strange as this may sound, a good rule of thumb for monitoring your fluid needs is to check your urine volume and color; if it’s dark, you need to hydrate.

It’s also a good idea to learn about common heat disorders, such as heat exhaustion and cramps, and ways to treat them.

Cold Weather While many of us think conditions similar to Mt. Everest or the icy waters surrounding the Titanic are likely to induce cold-related injuries, environments with temperatures of around 50° F have been known to produce hypothermia — really! That said, we’ll concede that severe hypothermia is rare among travelers, and it often occurs during emergency situations, such as when someone gets lost in a storm, or if a small boat were to overturn in cold water.

Before You Go Research your destination spot and look for any travel advisories. Find out what is the best clothing and equipment required for your trip, and bring plenty of warm layers and thick socks. Avoid traveling on ice-covered roads and bridges. If you’ll be traveling near water, bring a flotation device, learn self-rescue tips, and how to right an overturned boat. The hypothermia caused by falling into cold water can leave you unable to swim within 30 minutes to an hour.

Also, familiarize yourself with how to handle cold-related injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia.

Reproduced with kind permission of

The “silent crisis” of hepatitis in Asia-Pacific

Hepatitis may not command the same publicity as HIV or AIDS, but it kills almost as many people each year reports

About 1.4 million people die annually from liver cancer linked to the five types of hepatitis, according to data from the Global Burden of Disease Study. Of these deaths, over a million occur in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is three times the number of people dying from HIV/AIDS each year and eight times the number of malaria deaths in the same region.

Coalition for the Eradication of Viral Hepatitis in Asia-Pacific (CEVHAP) chair and co-founder Ding-Shinn Chen told Devex, “While malaria is rightly considered an African emergency, a silent crisis is occurring in Asia-Pacific as a result of viral hepatitis.”

Hepatitis prevention for expats and travellers

In the U.S., hepatitis A is the most common vaccine-preventable illness acquired during travel. Expats and people visiting regions where the virus is common should receive the vaccine.

The hepatitis A vaccine protects against 95% of cases and, when administered correctly, immunity lasts at least 15 years. If you are moving to Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent or South America see your doctor at least 3 weeks before travelling. The vaccine should be followed up with a booster six to 12 months after the first dose.

A vaccine also exists for hepatitis B, which is administered in two or three doses. The first two provide complete protection, with the idea of the third being to prolong protection. If you’re travelling to an area with a high rate of hepatitis B you need to see your doctor six weeks before leaving.

There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C, though several are under development.

Chen called for reforms in addressing the killer disease in the areas of improving available resources, extending existing HIV/AIDS frameworks to viral hepatitis, and increasing access to medicines, which remains a major challenge in developing countries

Travellers’ biggest fear is “ending up in a foreign hospital”

As the British summer gets off to a disappointing start, people turn their thoughts to beaches and sunshine, with Spain still being a top destination for British holidaymakers.

According to an independent survey, British travellers’ greatest fear when venturing abroad is falling ill and having to go to a foreign hospital. The report, from telephone interpreter service, i-interpret4u, asked 2,000 holidaymakers what they were most concerned about when going abroad writes Bryony Ashcroft of

The results showed the majority (83%) of respondents worry about going abroad, leaving only a small proportion seemingly at ease with the idea. While being ill and having to make use of foreign health facilities was people’s biggest worry, the second most cited fear is a lost passport, followed by losing luggage.

Thousands of pieces of luggage are lost or misplaced every year, with numbers peaking in the summer months. Always follow procedure and report a missing suitcase before you leave the airport to avoid delays with any compensation later.

No excuse for travelling without insurance

The results also showed women are almost twice as likely as men to worry about travelling abroad. The third biggest fear for women is getting mugged or attacked on holiday.

A large proportion (85%) of people don’t worry about being able to speak the language when they go abroad. This does make us wonder, if more people knew the language basics when they went abroad, would some of the fear go out of having to use foreign hospitals?

i-interpret4u Director Michael French told Wanderlust magazine, “Travellers will often think that it can’t happen to them; sadly it does and ensuring you have taken out adequate, not the cheapest travel insurance is of course important – and for less than the cost of a bottle of good wine, there’s no real excuse for travelling uncovered.”

Reproduced with kind permission of