Tips for Staying Healthy in Tonga
Tonga might not present major health issues, but exposing yourself to a new environment always involves a few risks. From drinking water to mosquito bites, there are a few things worth taking precautions for in Tonga to ensure a happy and healthy holiday. Check out our health tips for Tonga for health and safety advice!
1. Boil Tap Water or Use a Lifestraw Bottle
While locals drink tap water in Tonga with little issue, visitors are unlikely to be immune to unfamiliar bacteria found in the water. To avoid E.coli, otherwise known as traveller’s diarrhoea, it’s advised to boil tap water before drinking it. If you don’t have access to facilities that allows you to boil water, we recommend using a water-purification filter, such as Lifestraw, which removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, as well as 99.9% of waterborne protozoan. Find out more about drinking water in Can You Drink the Water in Tonga?
2. Slap on the Sunscreen
Tonga has a tropical climate, where sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are common issues for travellers. Nevertheless, these medical issues are easily avoided with sunscreen, as well as wearing a sunhat and covering up bare skin. Your sunscreen should be at least SPF 30 and be coral reef-safe. Reapply sunscreen every three hours or soon after being in the water. Extra precautions should be taken with children, such as using a shade in a stroller, keeping kids out of the midday sun, and wearing UV-protective rash vests, for example. Get more clued up on sunscreen with What are the Best Sunscreens for Tonga?
3. Make Sure Travel Vaccinations are Up-to-Date
Although there are no vaccinations required to enter Tonga, it is advised that you have all of your routine vaccinations done, like measles, mumps and rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, polio and meningitis immunisations. It’s also recommended to have travel vaccinations done, such as for typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Find out more in Do You Need Vaccines to Travel to Tonga?
4. Be Aware of Food Safety
Eating in restaurants is generally safe in Tonga. However, avoid eating salads or uncooked food that may have been washed with contaminated water. If preparing your own meals, wash fruit/vegetables with boiled water. Avoid cooking reef fish which might cause ciguatera. Avoid cooking taro leaves, as they can be toxic if not cooked properly. Note that eating fish and taro in restaurants is safe.
To avoid gastro bugs, use hand disinfectant and only eat cooked food. If you get diarrhoea, drink water regularly and alternate between electrolytes and water. If other symptoms occur, see a doctor.
Finally, avoid eating runny eggs or undercooked meat to avoid salmonella. If you have blood in your stool, see a doctor immediately.
5. If You’re Feeling Unwell, Be Proactive
Speaking of seeing a doctor, it’s better to be proactive if you’re feeling ill rather than waiting to see your doctor back home. Local doctors are more likely to understand local illnesses than your usual doctor.
6. Pack a First Aid Kit Especially for Tonga
Be prepared for minor illnesses and injuries by packing a travel first aid kit. Pack medication and health products that will help with heat stroke, dehydration, mosquito bites, coral cuts, stomach upsets and more. See our recommendations on what to pack in What to Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Tonga.
7. Know How to Clean Cuts Well
Part of your first aid kit is going to be made up of band-aids, bandages, scissors, tweezers, antiseptic cream/spray and wipes. It’s all well having them, but you’re going to need to know how to use them to address common injuries, like coral cuts. If not addressed quickly, coral cuts can cause prolonged infection. After getting a cut, clean the wound with clear water then disinfect with an antiseptic wipe. Then place the appropriate-sized band-aid or bandage on top of the wound to protect it. Change the dressing once per day or if bleeding occurs.
8. Use This Trick to Avoid Flu-like Symptoms After a Flight
Some of us tend to experience flu-like symptoms after a flight and/or experienced ear pain during a flight. For that issue, here’s a tip: take a couple of paracetamol and spray some nasal decongestion spray about 30 minutes before your flight departs. Be sure to follow the instructions for dosage on your medication.
9. Be Serious About Avoiding Mosquito Bites
Tonga is a tropical country with its fair share of mosquitos. Not only do mosquitos leave the skin itchy when they bite, but mosquitos can carry diseases. Don’t worry, Tonga is free from fatal mosquito-spread diseases like malaria, but there has been a history of non-fatal diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever, chikungunya and the zika virus. It’s always a good idea to take prevention methods against mosquito bites, such as wearing insect repellent, sleeping under a mosquito net and wearing clothes that cover arms and legs. See more advice in 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Tonga and 10 Best Natural Mosquito Repellents for Tonga.
10. If You Have Pre-Existing Conditions, See Your Doctor Before Your Trip
If you have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes or asthma, see your doctor a few weeks before your trip to Tonga. Ask them to write a letter describing your medication, their generic names and a summary of your conditions to take to Tonga with you. Plus, ask if you need a medication passport, as some substances are controlled in different countries, including Tonga. Finally, make sure you bring sufficient medication in their original and clearly labelled containers for your entire trip.