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The Gilded Serpent presents...
Egypt Travel Health Checklist
by Shira

With the Ahlan wa Sahlan festival coming up soon, it's time for some of us to think about packing for Egypt! One thing people who are new to traveling long distances often don't think about packing is health-related items.  In addition, a dance event such as Ahlan wa Sahlan has classes, and that means there's a risk of over-using muscles or even injury.

It's no fun at all to get sick or injured in another country.  Hotel shops often have limited drugstore supplies, and "real" drugstores are often some distance away from your hotel. Even if you find a drugstore, there's no guarantee it will have the supplies you want. Products and brand names sold in other countries are typically different from your own. Labels might not be in a language you are able to read. It's best to take all your favorite remedies and "stay healthy" tools along with you when you travel, especially to a foreign country.

Here is a packing checklist that may help you anticipate your own needs. Take the items that are compatible with how you like to care for yourself, and don't bother with the others! Think about whether there are any additional health-related items you may need.  Some people prefer natural remedies, while others embrace the contents of drugstores.  I've listed both types of items below, but only you can decide which are right for you:

*Always talk with your doctor before taking any new medication

Be Ready for Everything

- Health insurance card & information on how to use the insurance if you need it
Copy of traveler's insurance policy if you buy such protection
Original bottles for all prescription drugs to prove legality

For Jet Lag Adaptation & Easier Sleep

It will be easier for your body to prevent colds and other ailments if you are well rested.

Sleep & Relaxation Aids:
Aromatherapy spray
Scented bath oil
Immersion heater, herbal tea, cup
Relaxing bedtime reading
Portable CD/tape player, headphones,  and relaxation sound effects or music
Sleep aid pills*
- Eye mask to block light
- Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to muffle noise
- Neck pillow for airplane
Other Jet Lag Helpers:
Bottled water for dehydration  
Washcloth for rehydrating skin

Something to snack on

Coughs & Colds

Airports, airplanes, buses, and trains are full of people whose cold germs can infect you.

Vitamins (C, E, copper)
Other dietary supplements (zinc, echinacea, Airborne) that you feel are helpful
- Green tea, immersion heater, coffee/tea cup
-Mask to wear over mouth & nose on airplane, in airports
-Anti-bacterial hand wipes or liquid
-Salt water nose spray
-Cough syrup
-Throat lozenges
-Menthol rub
-Immersion heater, herbal teas suitable for fighting cough and colds, coffee/tea cup
-Bottled water
If You Have a History of Your Colds Frequently Progressing Into Serious Bacterial Infections Such As Bronchitis, Sinusitis, or Strep Throat

Muscle, Foot, & Joint Health

Whether sight-seeing or dancing, you may find yourself with sore muscles or even injury.

Preventing Pain & Injury
-Glucosamine & chondroitin*
-Ballet-style legwarmers and knee braces for dance classes
-Shoes/prosthetics offering the support your feet require
-Knowledge of how to warm up and cool down effectively for injury prevention
-Pain reducers: aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
-Ointment for muscles sore from dancing
- Ice pack
-Bandage for wrapping injured joint
-Heating pad (for tired feet or muscles only, not fresh injuries)
-Refreshing lotion or foot soak for feet tired from sightseeing or dance classes

Stomach & Intestinal Health

-Acid reflux medication (if this is an issue for you)*
-Acidophalus for preventing traveler's diarrhea
-Stomach acid reducer such as Tums (if this is an issue for you)
-Anti-diarrhea product such as Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, or Kao-Pectate*
-Charcoal capsules
-Salty snacks for restoring muscle strength after diarrhea
-Plentiful bottled water
Avoiding Motion Sickness on Tour Buses
-Ginger (either fresh, dried, or candied)
-Acupressure wristbands

Eye Care

-Sunglasses, preferably wrap-around to shield eyes from blowing sand/dirt on windy days
-Extra pair of prescription glasses (especially if you wear contact lenses)
-Contact lens case and sufficient contact lens solution for entire visit - check liquid levels in bottles before leaving home
-Copy of glasses/contact lenses prescription
-Saline solution for dry eyes

Skin Care

-Lip balm
-First aid kit with bandages & antiseptic ointment
- Moisturizer for dry or sun-stressed skin

Other Issues

Allergic Reactions, Insect Bites
- Antihistamines (pills and/or ointments)*
- Asthma inhaler*
Your Own Unique Health Issues
Tetanus shot before you leave home if yours is out of date
Migraine medication or other headache remedy*
-Dried cranberries if you suffer from frequent bladder infections
-Your normal everyday dietary supplements (vitamins, calcium, etc.)
-Menstrual supplies including treatments for cramps (pain relievers, herbal tea & immersion heater, heating pad)
-Sufficient supply of your normal everyday prescription items to last through the complete duration of your trip (blood pressure or cholesterol medication, birth control pills, diabetes control, arthritis treatment, etc.)

Have a comment? Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
more from Shira-

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