OK health and wellness is not normally associated with outback travel but is a vital part of your trip preparation. Keeping fit and healthy whilst travelling remotely for extended periods is part of enjoying seeing and exploring new things. Usually there is a deal of physical activity that you may be used to including; walking, climbing, swimming along with setting up camp and pulling it down again. Cutting wood for a fire, climbing on the roof of the 4WD to get stuff down. All of the above adds the risk of injury or illness unless you take things carefully and are prepared to deal with small things before they become serious.
In the first instance consider an advanced first aid course for you and your family just to update those long forgotten medical skills you learn way back when.
Well prior to departure you need to ensure any prescription drugs are reviewed and updated by your GP and a personal health check can be valuable for some. Emergency drugs and potions for insect bites and stings, ointment for burns (remember that fire) and for aches and pains and strains. What do you have in your medical kit for a tummy upset, severe pain or to remove a splinter, flush dust or ash from eyes even a simple bandaid?
If you wear glasses then a spare set or at least an updated prescription is always a good thing.
Do you have a contact list for your dentist, GP and physio just to mention some specialists we see regularly or occasionally.
What could possibly go wrong I hear you ask?
Well right now with one week to go my wife has been struck down with a severely infected jawbone caused by a hairline fracture in a tooth. Very painful, needed an endodontist and 3D x-rays to identify the issue and then develop a treatment plan. Find that level of specialists service and support in the back of beyond! Should still be right to go next week as long as the cocktail of antibiotics takes full effect and we will certainly have spare scripts and drugs just in case this issue returns.
Stop laughing this is a serious matter. Sadly in our experience many adults who travel remotely and say how much they love the place are in dire need of some toilet training. Quite frankly we are well over the desert confetti regularly experienced in wayside stops, along outback tracks and free campsites amongst other locations. Can we please cease this appalling behaviour! The family(s) who put a whole stack of used nappies down the last toilet in the Simpson Desert heading East from Dalhousie springs probably did not care or even bother to understand the damage they had caused. It took the Parks staff a long time and a lot of money to remove the offending items and they deserve more than a medal for that in our view. Along with stopping all other desert travellers from using the loo for several weeks. Talk about an in-convenience.
So some rules please:
- Dig a hole. At least as twice as deep as the head of the shovel you are using
- Burn the used paper, carefully so as not to set the surrounding area on fire
- Cover the hole in and firmly tamp it down to try and stop the wildlife digging it up
- Wash your hands to prevent subsequent illness
Wash your hands
Not sure why but heading outback sends some folk into caveman mode where they stop doing things they otherwise would do at home. Like cleaning your teeth and washing your hands. The former may be OK amongst close friends but after a couple of days I reckon you would notice them getting further away. Hand washing is vital to your health by reducing the risk of infection and cross infection. You don’t even need soap and water these days any of the hospital grade hand cleaners do the job and double as a wound cleaner.
Water can be a scarce commodity when travelling remotely but it should not stop you from having a refreshing bird bather regularly. We use and recommend baby wipes, large size for full body wash and smaller ones for wiping hands before making a meal. Please remember to correctly get rid of them as they are not compatible regardless of what the label may say. Or at least in our experiences to date.
So as part of your pre-departure preparations please make sure you consider the medical risks you may be confronted with and equally have a plan that manages any of your or your families medical issues on a day to day basis.
See you in the outback looking and feeling refreshed and relaxed