Six ways to keep your staff healthy abroad

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There’s no doubt that your staff work hard and deserve a well-earned holiday. But have you thought about how a simple health complaint or a more serious problem could ruin their break and impact their return to work?

Even if they did return to work on time, the chances are that they won’t be well-rested and may even be more stressed than when they left. All of which could affect their motivation and productivity.

Here are our top six tips for you to share with your employees to help stay healthy whilst on holiday, or even travelling abroad with work.

  1. Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – sitting still for too long can cause blood flow in the leg veins to become sluggish and pool, which can lead to a blood clot forming in a deep vein of the leg. While the risk is low, it increases if the flight is more than four hours or if there are any risk factors present such as smoking, pregnancy or medical history of circulatory problems. To reduce the risk of DVT:
    • Book an aisle seat where it is easier to get out and move;
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and flight compression socks;
    • Take regular walks to stretch the legs;
    • Drink a litre of water for every five hours in the air and avoid dehydrating drinks such as caffeine and alcohol;
    • Encourage blood flow by regularly circling the feet, flexing and stretching ankles and rocking from heel to toe.
  2. Beat jet lag – Crossing a time zone can affect sleep and cause other symptoms such as headaches. Reduce the risk by doing the following:
    • Adjust your activities on arrival to eat meals and go to bed according to the new zone;
    • Spend as much time outdoors in daytime to encourage production of melatonin and adjust your natural body clock;
    • If you’re really struggling, caffeine can help.
  3. Reduce the risk of ‘Deli-belly’ – lessen the risk of traveller’s diarrhoea, caused by contaminated food, by:
    • Washing hands after using the toilet and before eating;
    • Carrying a hand sanitizing gel, wipes or spray;
    • Avoiding undercooked meat, seafood, raw foods and dairy products;
    • Drinking bottled water, avoid ice cubes and clean teeth with bottled water;
    • Considering a pre and/or probiotic supplement.
  4. Escape the dangers of the sun – sunstroke, or heatstroke, happens when the body’s core temperature rises above 40°C and the body is unable to cool itself. Prevent sunstroke by:
    • Staying hydrated with plenty of cold drinks and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks;
    • Wearing loose fitting, lightweight clothing;
    • Protecting against sunburn;
    • Taking it easy during the hottest parts of the day;
    • Getting acclimated to allow the body time to adjust to the hot weather.
  5. Prevent bites from becoming a pain in the neck – Insect bites and stings can be a pain in the neck – literally! The best way to beat them is to cover up at sunrise and sunset, and use an insect repellent containing 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide). Most bites will be harmless enough, albeit incredibly irritating. If the bite or sting is venomous, they will usually be very painful, red and cause extensive swelling. In these cases, seek medical help as quickly as possible.
  6. Put adequate protection in place – Whether it’s a short city-break or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, travel insurance will provide cover for medical bills, or if something goes wrong with the trip such as lost baggage or delays. Ensure adequate protection is in place for EVERY trip abroad and that it is suitable for the location and activities being undertaken (e.g. winter sports, worldwide).

For employees who regularly travel abroad for work, or even work abroad for periods of time, you may want to consider providing travel insurance and/or international private medical insurance. This will ensure they are adequately covered and will help you meet your duty of care responsibilities to them. Speak to your Jelf consultant for more information.

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Source: Woman & Home, July 2017 issue ‘Best stay-healthy holiday tips’

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Alexis is an experienced marketing professional who is passionate about copywriting and the power of compelling marketing content.