Here’s my biggest problem when I travel. I am not good at other languages. I always try to learn the basics – please, thank you, where’s the bathroom. But in this world you need more than that to get by.
Now there’s Google Translate. This amazing app translates in to 64 languages. You can type in your words or speak into your phone and it will translate your spoken words. Or push the hand write button and write in your words to be translated. Hit full screen and show someone your translations. You can also communicate with another person using speech-to-speech translation in Conversation Mode.
You’ve just got to check out this app. Oh, yeah and it’s free.
Traveling in under developed countries poses some unique challenges. What if I get cut and need stitches? What if I have a dental emergency? Get diarrhea so bad I need IV rehydration? Will they have properly sterilized equipment?
You can purchase syringe and suture kits to take with you. These are not do it yourself kits. They are to be given to a trained health care provider to use on you in such emergencies.
Typically, these kits contain needles, suture materials, IV catheters, gloves and antiviral and antibacterial wipes to close wounds and start IV’s. They can be used to administer anesthetics for emergency dental procedures, too.
To help with going through customs, get a note from your travel clinic provider that states that these items are being used for personal use only. One kit from Adventure Medical Kits has declaratory statements about use printed on the outside in 8 different languages.
Many travel clinics, including Travel Health of New Hampshire, have these kits available for purchase. Hopefully you will never need to use such a kit, but in countries where blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis are common, it is reassuring to know that if you the equipment used on you is definitely sterile.
Black flies, mosquitoes and ticks are upon us here in New Hampshire. Although we only have these pests seasonally, they exist year round in many places you may travel to.
So what’s the best way to protect yourself from bites? Covering up with clothing and tucking pants in to shoes will help. But ticks still manage to find you. Using products with 25% DEET or higher also work but have limitations. They need to be reapplied and product duration varies so you have to check the label and make sure you comply with the directions. If you are swimming or sweating, you will need to reapply even more often. They smell and you will want to wash it off when you are no longer worried about the bugs.
You can treat your clothing to make them insect repellent by spraying on or soaking them with permetherin. Permetherin is a man made version of a natural insect repellant found in chrysanthemums. It is inexpensive and after treatment they are insecticidal for 6 weeks or 6 launderings, whichever comes first.
Recently a new line of clothing has been developed with permetherin impregnated into the fibers that lasts for 70 washing which equals the life of the garment. Insect shield clothing is available at outdoor clothing companies, travel clothing companies and on amazon. The clothing is odorless and repels mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and flies. They are a bit more expensive and you will still need to use some insect repellent on your exposed skin but together they provide the most protection. Remember to also perform a tick check every day and if you find any, remove them properly.
When I was 12, I chipped my front teeth. I have had caps since then and over the years, they have fallen off and one cracked when I bit into a chicken leg once. Fortunately, I was home and was only inconvenienced because it happened on a weekend. But what if I was traveling? How available is quality dental care where you travel? What would you do if a filling came out, a bridge broke or a cap came off?
A year ago, a travel clinic client told me she had been on a cruise ship when she had a dental malfunction. She went to the infirmary. They pulled out an emergency dental kit, made a temporary repair and charged her $200. She knew she could’ve made the repair herself but didn’t have the right stuff. She asked if emergency dental kits were available for sale. And they are. For about $25.
The dental emergency kit allows you to do basic, temporary repairs for most dental emergencies. There are several types on the market and most include tweezers, a dental mirror, floss, picks, cement, temporary fillings and topical and oral analgesics. This compact kit comes with full written directions and takes up little room and has a long shelf life.
We have an arsenal of products to keep germs at bay these days- antibacterial soap, wipes, sprays, gels, face masks, gloves. In order for them to work, you have to carry them around with you, which can be a hassle when you travel. Some people walking aroung airports look like they should be walking around an OR. But now there is something new to protect you that you wear and actually looks good, too.
GermBana is a new antibacterial fabric that is soft and comfortable for you but kills germs including MSRA on contact. It does so by breaking down the negatively charged fibers in bacterial membranes with its positvely charged fibers. So, no smell or chemicals and it keeps its germ killing properties wash after wash. GermBana comes in black or khaki and is made into a pocketed scarf, neck/face gaiter and gloves. Go ahead, cough or sneeze into that scarf. Germs are killed on contact. Enviornmentally friendly, washable, good looking, and long lasting. A new, fashionable way to kill germs to add to your packing list.