Have Health, Will Travel (Part 3)
Some practical post-travel guidelines in the third and final part of a series on seniors’ travel safety.

A good recovery strategy after your holiday is essential.

You may experience conflicting feelings when you return home from your travels: happy that you’re safely home and perhaps a little sad that your holiday’s over. So here are some tips to keep in mind after you’re home. If you had engaged in strenuous physical activity during your travels, you might experience the following symptoms after travelling: - Knee pains (from osteoarthritis of the knee). - Muscle pains or fatigue. - Swollen feet (from long periods of standing or walking). If you plan to buy over-the-counter medications to treat the above symptoms, please take note of the following: - Painkillers in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) group may cause salt and water retention and cause heart problems to get worse. - Medications that reduce foot swelling, such as Frusemide, may cause gout attacks. In addition, Frusemide may also interact with other drugs (example: ACE inhibitors such as perindopril) that can result in impaired renal function. - If you have other medical problems, please consult a doctor before buying over-the-counter medications. Occasionally, pain symptoms may reduce without medications by getting adequate rest after travelling or elevating your legs to lessen the swelling caused by long periods of standing. If you experience breathing problems, seek medical advice. Various causes can lead to this problem, including: - Blood clots flow to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). - Heart failure worsened due to painkillers consumed during your travels. - Coronary heart attack by irregular blood pressure during or after travelling. - Asthma attacks or other chronic obstructive airway diseases (COAD) by allergens or weather changes.

Getting back into routines like exercise after travelling could help you readjust better.

LACK OF SLEEP Older travellers are more prone to sleep disorders than younger people. In addition, you may experience trouble sleeping after travelling due to fatigue, changes in daily routines or time zones. Here are some tips that might help: - Avoid coffee, stimulants or alcohol before going to bed. - Practice your daily routine after returning from travelling. - Consider music or other relaxation techniques to help you sleep better. - Avoid sleeping pills. Seek medical advice. FEVER AND DIARRHOEA You might still be at risk for certain infectious diseases after your return. Note that there is a period when you start having a communicable disease until the disease symptoms become noticeable (incubation time), which can take a few days or weeks. - Seek medical attention if you fall ill after returning from a trip. - A thorough travel history can help your doctor make an accurate early diagnosis. - A history of your antibiotic use in the previous three months is also essential.

Source: MyHEALTH Portal, Health Ministry Malaysia.