Safety Tips For Traveling To Russia

First-aid material

A lot of us only speak English and that can be a problem if you are taken ill abroad. To treat upsets and insect bites I take a small first-aid kit with me. Just the standard things that you would find at home, but all very useful when you don’t speak the language and don’t know how to find the local chemist, let alone know what they call plasters. My doctor recommended that a first-aid kit should include:

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• Two 5 ml syringes and a selection of needles in different sizes

• One dental needle

• One intravenous cannula

• Skin sutures with needles (i.e. stitches to sew up a wound)

• Two packets of skin closure strips (stick-on stitches)

• Two packets of sterile alcohol swabs to clean the skin

• A variety of good-quality sticking plaster dressings

• One large roll of surgical sticking tape

• Aspirin/Ibuprofen (painkillers)

• Anti-inflammatory cream/spray (for bites and burns)

• Anti-acid medicine (for upset stomachs)

• Antiseptic ointment

• Scissors

• Cotton-wool wipes.

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NOTE: I have not included sun block and after-sun, etc. in the medical care kit. Also remember to check with the appropriate embassy that you are allowed to take all of the contents of the first-aid kit into the country.

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Where medical facilities are very basic at best, in order to avoid being infected with any hypodermics or scalpels that have not been sterilised, take your kit when you need treatment. To avoid cross-infection from contaminated blood products in more remote areas, some experts advise that you take your own supply of blood plasma if you can, with a larger medical kit containing scalpels and other instruments.

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I strongly disagree! As far as I am concerned, if medical services are that poor, and your destination is that remote, I suggest that travelling to that country represents an unacceptable risk to your life and health and you should simply not go there.

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Illegal drugs

Illegal drugs are a global problem. A few countries seem to be ignoring it, but most impose strict penalties on anyone attempting to smuggle illegal drugs. To reinforce this, it is worth pointing out that more UK citizens are serving prison sentences in foreign jails for drug offences than for any other crime.

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Many foreign countries have severe mandatory sentences, even for possession of a small amount of marijuana. A few tourists have been arrested for possessing prescription or over-the-counter drugs, such as tranquillisers and amphetamines or painkillers, which were purchased legally then taken into some Middle Eastern countries, where they are illegal.

If you have any questions or doubts about drug laws in your destination country you should check with their embassy before you go or better still don’t buy, carry or rely on drugs in the first place. If you have to take and carry medication, you must check with the country’s embassy before travelling.

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Political situations abroad

From a variety of sources the UK Government receives information about the political and civil situation in countries around the world. From that the UK Government lists various countries which they advise UK citizens not to travel to at all, or only to travel to if they are on very important business. The threats in these countries are varied but real, so you should always check the lists and seek advice before planning any travel. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office website is www.fco.gov.uk

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