Saturday, June 28, 2014

Looking after yourself healthwise in Malaysia - Expat Diaries

The climate in the tropics of Malaysia is an entirely different challenge to the one in England. England rarely gets hot and is mostly a cold country. Looking after one's general health presents various problems in each climate.

I lived in England from birth for around 20 years and suffered with asthma and eczema amongst others. The cold and dry winters cracked my lips and was terrible for my lungs and breathing. 

I didn't drink much water in England - soft drinks, hot chocolate and fruit juice was the norm, even though drinking water came straight out the tap!

Influenza and tonsillitis were common illnesses which required nothing more than a routine trip to the doctor and a prescription.

Living as an expat in Malaysia is a completely different kettle of fish! For starters, my asthma and eczema problems completely and rather magically disappeared the moment I set foot in South-east Asia. It was remarkable how these ailments I had had since birth just vanished as soon as I got to the equator.

But other health issues soon arose. The heat in Malaysia is intense, and coupled with 90% humidity, it can be pretty unbearable at times. Such a climate makes dehydration a common illness.

I learned through a hospital bed that if I don't drink enough water and electrolytes, bad things will happen to me. Drinking water has now become a conscious part of my life. It's always on my mind. I also keep regularly filled with 100plus, Revive and Gatorade. At least once a month I will take a rehydration salts sachet which can be picked up from the local pharmacy.

If the worst comes to the worst and the stomach discomfort, dry tongue and nausea associated with dehydration set in, get to the nearest hospital, preferably private, and get yourself hooked-up to a saline drip - that stuff is magic and will get you feeling great in no time!

You'll also have to be careful what food you eat. While expats love to try out all sorts of local food, some of it may not be very healthy or clean, and some food stalls may operate in tardy conditions. Stomach bugs are all the more easy to catch if you don't quickly learn what your stomach can and cannot tolerate, and which places are clean and safe to dine at.

Finally, I know that most Western expats crave the sun, the beach, and getting a tan, but when temperatures are approaching 40 celsius, it's better to stay in the shade than risk getting severe sunstroke!

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! Hope you're recovery's fast. Water, sounds so simple, but so important.


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