How to Prepare for Italy: A Health Guide
Avid travelers understand the importance of maintaining their health and preparing their bodies beforehand upon entering a foreign country, no matter the level of development that country may be in. If you are planning on visiting the great country of Italy sometime soon, be sure to receive the proper medical attention beforehand, as well as a basic understanding of proper safety guidelines within the country’s borders.
The first step you’ll want to take before a trip to Italy is receiving the necessary vaccinations and medicines required to prevent contracting any illnesses. It’s best to visit your doctor anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks before leaving the country. The vaccinations they will suggest often include those covering measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus, polio, and the chickenpox vaccine. Regardless of your medical history, failing to receive these shots can expose you to the dangers of any the aforementioned diseases.
Though Italy is renowned for its delectable cuisine, the fact that it is a foreign country to those outside of its borders are still at risk of foodborne illnesses that their bodies may not have been prepared for. Hepatitis A, for example, can break out in almost any country regardless of its cleanliness. This can manifest in the food and water of Italy, so discuss whether or not a hepatitis A vaccine would be beneficial depending on the nature of your stay.
A common step in the prevention of illness is washing your hands. This is nothing new, but it can go a long way in staying healthy when visiting a foreign country. Assume that not everywhere you visit will provide access to soap and water. Always carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you to compensate, and always wash your wands when given the opportunity. Though it may seem like overkill in germ prevention, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
With that said, resist the urge to pet or come into contact with any stray animals you see in Italy, which may be easier said than done. As cute as you may find that stray dog sitting just outside the cafe down the street, there is no telling how aggressive the animal is, or what diseases it may be carrying. Though it isn’t an enormous risk to travelers, receiving a rabies vaccination beforehand would be wise.
Once you are in Italy, do not touch or feed any stray animals, and do your best to avoid them altogether. Though it may be disheartening to see a malnourished animals searching for food, it’s best to protect your own health. My suggestion would be to toss them some leftovers from a safe distance if you must, but do not feed them to the point of being followed.
Always know the country’s nearest hospitals and medical facilities once you are in one of Italy’s many cities. Should you suffer an injury or illness while on your trip, you’ll want to make sure that you have access to the best doctors in the area, and the proper medical information to provide to them (i.e. blood type, medical history, any medication you are currently on, and any allergies you may have). When packing, bring an emergency care kit and all the medicines you think you may need once you reach Italy, and discuss any additional medications with your doctor.