Any, even the most fantastic trip, can be spoilt by unexpected illness, contusions, pain or stomach disorders. Most of the cases can be prevented and a holiday bad experience avoided.
The most common problem during long distance trips is jet lag and stomach problems caused by change of life style, cuisine and often just a change of water. Some health problems during holidays are caused by change of lifestyle. Working hard and under stress we do not let our body rest and keep it under constant pressure. During the first few days of our holiday we are given a kind of shock therapy as suddenly all the pressure, including the adrenaline levels in our system, decreases. This in fact can lead to the lowering our immunological system and can result in infections, or personal problems with regular everyday things.
What can we do? Everybody reacts differently to ‘travel malfunction' and there is no way to avoid these unpleasant moments. Of course it doesn't happen to everyone.
Here are some tips that may help you get over any unpleasant situations:
- if you arrive in Poland from distant parts with a big time difference you can help minimize jet lag before the trip. Remember that coming from the West is more difficult as you lose a day. Coming from the East you just add a day. There is medication which can help here. Any medicine based on melatonine is quite safe and natural (though always ask your doctor before taking any medication)
Here are the melatonine rules:
TRAVELLING TO THE EAST - 2 days prior the journey, around 7 p.m. take a 3,0-5,0 mg dose. Continue the dosage 4 days after arrival just before going to bed.
TRAVELING TO THE WEST - dosage 3,0-5,0 mg for 4 days after arrival just before going to bed.
- for the first few days after arrival try to avoid alcohol or strong coffee. Let your body adapt to the new environment and the challenge of the stress it was put to and adjust to a new food and daily schedule. We know it is a difficult advice to follow on holidays. Sleeping is recommended and long nights are not advised during the first few days of your holidays. A good mood will be guaranteed for the days to follow if you sleep long and well at the beginning.
- any stomach disorders that last not longer that one day as well as little stomach aches are probably the result of new food ingredients and the timetable of dining. If there is nothing that serious and you don't feel that things might get worse you just have to ride out the storm, don't drink too much alcohol or eat greasy, heavy food. Go on a little diet, admire the scenery. All will be better next day. You can always try a dose of Carbo Medicinalis or Smecta (consult your doctor before the trip). If you feel strange or are just not sure if the problem might be something else, more serious, go to the doctor immediately. Do it also if using Carbon or Smecta or any other popular medicine available in such cases doesn't help after a day or two.
- remember that when travelling you might not have the possibility and conditions or you just forget to take care of hygiene. This type of hygiene is important when picking a place for dining as it must be clean. And personal hygiene is vital as well when travelling. Take note that while travelling you are in an environment where there may be many different bacteria and viruses carried by fellow travellers. Travelling is a time for snacks of eating ‘unusual' food at ‘unusual' times perhaps in ‘unusual' places. Remember to wash you hands always before eating! If no water is available be prepared and have special antibacterial wipes or liquid, all available in pharmacies and travelling shops.
It's also worth considering buying paper covers for toilet seats. They might be necessary during the trip and will protect you from unhygienic toilets in railways stations, hotels, restaurants.
Remember - hygiene during a trip is a little necessity which will help you avoid many unpleasant consequences.
ILLNESS AND HEALTH WARNING
There are no required vaccinations when coming to Poland. All the vaccinations you had at home when children are enough to protect you from any illnesses you might be exposed to here.
All travellers should be vaccinated against jaundice no matter where they go. This dirty hands illness of type A that can be transmitted through food or type B that is transmitted through blood (sexual contact, haircut, dentist etc.) may be avoided by a simple but important vaccination at home. Resistance to types A and B is easily done and everybody should think about a vaccination before they leave on a trip. The vaccine can protect you for 10 years, so this long term investment in your travel health seems a smart idea. Ask your doctor for details!
In the Polish geographical zone there are no serious or tropical sicknesses that can be spread by insects. There is however a special condition which can be caused by the bite of the tick insect. Meningitis. The tick insect lives in the trees and in grasses especially the long, dry ones and drops on animals and… people. It is very rare that when bitten the virus actually attacks the human system. It is very rare in fact, but it does happen. If you think that the insect attached to your body is a tick do not pull it off if you are not told how to do it safely. Go to the nearest pharmacy, or doctor and they will remove it. Here are the symptoms that might manifest themselves after some time in the forest or after a tick bite. Go to the doctor immediately.
“The illness (tick related) starts with a high fever that lasts for 2-3 days. There may be some stomach problems accompanying (bad moods, vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhoea) or flu like symptoms (pain in joints, muscle pain especially in neck or spine). There may also be conjunctivitis or an infected throat. After several days all these symptoms disappear and others appear:
- the sick person cannot bend the neck from the chin to the sternum.
- the knee joints go pale (when knees are 90 degrees it is difficult to straighten them)
- when pushing head down - legs bend at knee joints
- strong headache during the first part of the sickness
If you do not have the possibility of being vaccinated before arriving in Poland or you think that probability of being bitten by a tick is so small remember to protect yourself with the insect repellent products which can be found on the market. In most cases this will be enough to protect you.
Poland is considered to be one of countries with the lowest HIV/AIDS indicators in Europe. Considering these statistics you must be aware though that AIDS is present in Poland. Sexual education in Poland is perhaps not as widespread and good as in the west so these statistics have to be viewed with a little caution. People are aware of the problem but if you should find yourself in a position where a sexual encounter is possible make it safe for you, and your partner. Condoms are available in most shops, all kiosks and drugstores and petrol stations. Remember there is no such a thing as a safe sex with strangers, you may make it safer but never 100% safe.
SICKNESS AND ACCIDENTS
Acting reasonably and following basic hygiene rules with some basic common sense should happily limit most travel problems. If something happens though it is worth knowing now what to do then.
If nothing very serious happens that requires immediate help or you have a little time to think about it, the priority here is to contact your insurance company at their call centre. They will tell you what to do, they will call help if you need it, they will tell you which doctor you should to go. It is advisable and if you have time to be assisted medically by a doctor who has been recognized and authorized by your insurance company. That goes for hospitals and clinics too. This will facilitate any refunding of money paid by you at the time of the medical assistance.
If something serious happens and there is no time to do anything, remember these two phone numbers
112 medical emergency
Both numbers are toll free and you can also use a mobile phone to get access them. Remember that once aid has been organised you must contact you insurance centre for further assistance.
But most of all we wish you a problem free, safe, healthy, romantic stay in our country and we hope you do not have to use the information above.
Have a great time in Poland with the Visitor!
last update May 2009