Coming from a warmer climate to a much colder climate takes some getting use to. I really, really love winter since it is so much different from the tropics where I come from. Having gone through unexpected sickness and incidence while on the road, I want to write about precautions, medications and some of the danger signs that one should be watching out for.
Medications to bring along
- Vicks – works wonders for soothing that unexpected cold and also great to relieve stomach ache.
- Panadol – for headache and as a general painkiller.
- Antacid & Gastric pills – I am very prone to stomach upset and have a doctors’ prescription for gastric pains. Make sure you bring along your medications if you suffer from any illness and there is a doctor’s prescription else it may be confisticated at customs.
- Axe oil. This is medicated oil you put on your temple for countering that giddiness and nausea. You may have your version of it in your country.
If visiting mountainous regions, don’t be in a hurry to climb that highest mountain on the first day of arrival. Give your body time to rest from the long flight and adjust to local weather condition. The same applies if you are coming from a colder climate to a warmer climate. Remember, without precautions heat stroke can also kill.
Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion
I had heat exhaustion in Auckland and nearly collapse upon arrival at the hostel. Recognise the symptoms - sweating profusely, feeling clammy, trembling body, shaky legs – go to the shower now! Don’t stand, just sit or squat down on the floor with the water flowing over you and let your body cool down gradually.
The opposite of that is hypothermia – where you body heat is gone and you can no longer shiver to generate heat. An internal inflammation can also cause you to feel so cold that not even two thick blankets can warm you up. I had another incident of that nature when I went hiking alone in the Malborough Sounds, New Zealand. Warm up immediately! Get a warm drink now. Call for help if you don’t feel any better.
Get clothes fitting the weather in that country you travel. For winter time, don’t ever, ever get materials made from cotton for your basic layers, caps or gloves. Cotton retain moisture and you can easily get clammy from cold sweat. Choose materials made from polypro or other sweat wicking materials for inner layers.
For caps, make sure they cover your ears and neck area as cold wind entering the ear channels can easily cause nausea and headaches. Don’t forget the gloves and make sure your jacket has hand pockets. European winters are so cold, falling minus degree celsius so warm up with a thick middle layer. It is common to have a dripping nose constantly so bring along that tissue wherever you go.
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance before you fly. You never know what unexpected things will happen. With travel insurance, you are at least assured of assistance in times of medical emergency.
Take the necessary precautions and you will be fine. Be safe and bon voyage!