Tips for Staying Healthy in Fiji
Fiji might not have any major health threats, but exposing yourself to a new environment always presents a few risks. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of health tips for Fiji to help you stay fresh for your holiday!
For more advice, see How to Stay Safe in Fiji.
1. Go Heavy on the Sun Protection
Due to Fiji’s tropical climate, sun-related illnesses such as sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common issues for visitors. Needless to say, you need to go heavy on sun protection. Your sunscreen should be SPF 30 at a minimum (see recommendations in What are the Best Sunscreens for Fiji) and be reapplied every three hours or soon after drying off from swimming. A sunhat and UV tops are also a good idea, as not all clothing protects you from UV rays. For children, you need to be especially proactive: make them wear a sun hat, keep on top of the sunscreen, use a shade if you have a stroller, and keep them out of the midday sun.
2. Know What Water is Safe to Drink
Tap water in urban areas is generally safe to drink, as well as in resorts that often have their own water filtration system. Otherwise, in villages and remote areas the water may not be safe to drink, even if the locals are drinking it – they are usually used to it. To avoid water-borne diseases, such as traveller’s diarrhoea, boil water for about 10 minutes before drinking it. Water purifying tablets and Lifestraw bottles also help, but boiling water is the safest option. See 6 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Fiji, as well as more information on where the water is safe to drink in Can You Drink the Water in Fiji?
3. Focus on Hygiene When Doing a Village Stay
Staying overnight in a village can be an enriching cultural experience, but you will need to accept a small portion of risk with conditions being so remote and different from home. First, focus on hygiene by washing your hands regularly or using a hand sanitiser, especially before eating food. In the unlikely case that you do start feeling ill while staying in a village, act quickly by seeking medical attention, even if it means returning to a city. If you let the situation worsen, it may be very strenuous to wait to see a doctor.
4. If You’re Feeling Ill, Be Proactive
On a similar note to the point above, if you do start feeling ill make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you are back home to see your own doctor, as local doctors are more likely to know the local illness than your doctor back home.
5. Make Sure Your Travel Vaccinations are Up-to-Date
While there are no vaccinations required to enter Fiji unless you are coming from a yellow fever area, it’s a good idea to have your travel vaccinations up-to-date. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that travellers be vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio for travel to all countries, including Fiji. Even if you had some of these vaccines as a child, adults need a booster shot. See Do You Need Vaccines to Travel to Fiji? for recommended vaccinations.
6. Pack a Fiji First Aid Kit
Heatstroke, mosquito bites, dehydration, cuts… You need a first aid kit with you in Fiji to address all of these possible medical issues and more. We have a full list of what you should pack in your first aid kit to Fiji in What to Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Fiji.
7. Know How to Clean Cuts
Speaking of first aid kits, it’s a good idea to know how to clean a cut if you get one. Especially coral cuts are something to address quickly as getting cut by live coral can lead to prolonged infection. After getting cut, clean the wound with clear water, take any pieces of coral or other foreign objects out of the wound, then disinfect with an antiseptic/disinfectant wipe. Then place an adequate band-aid or bandage around to protect the wound and change once per day or if bleeding occurs.
8. Be Aware of Food Safety
Eating in restaurants is usually very safe in Fiji. But if you’re eating in a remote village or street food, then there are a few things to be aware of. For instance, if you’re in an area that may have unsafe water, avoid eating salads or uncooked food that might have been washed with contaminated water. Preferably, eat food that has been cooked in front of you. Vegetarian food is usually the safest option.
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.
A common type of food poisoning in Fiji is ciguatera caused by eating reef fish that has eaten toxic algae. Locals know what reef fish to avoid eating, so only eat what the locals eat or avoid eating reef fish altogether.
Finally, avoid salmonella by not eating runny eggs or undercooked meat. If you have blood in your stool, see a doctor immediately.
9. See Your Doctor Before Your Trip if You Have Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes or asthma, see your doctor a few weeks before your trip. Ask them to write a note of your medication, along with their generic names, as well as a summary of your conditions, so you can take this note to Fiji with you. Also, ask if you need a medication passport, as some substances are controlled in different countries, including Fiji. Finally, make sure you bring sufficient medication and supplies for your entire trip.
10. Avoid Flu-like Symptoms After a Flight by Using Nasal Spray and Paracetamol
If you’ve ever experienced flu-like symptoms after a flight or experienced ear pain during a flight, then here’s a tip: take a couple of paracetamol and some nasal decongestion spray about 30 minutes before your flight departs. Follow the instructions for dosage on your medication.