HIDDEN DANGERS IN VACATION SPOTS
Make the most of your summer and avoid the hassles of different health hazards.
By OLIVE MIGUEL
Don’t spoil summer fun with disease-causing viruses and bacteria that lurk everywhere. To make the most of your precious getaway, choose a vacation spot that’s clean and hygienic to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. If the devil is in the details, then what follows are checklists of what you need to consider for quality—and safe—vacation time.
Sadly, food can be one of the most effective vehicles for spreading diseases, so you really should observe proper hygiene during mealtime. Here are some tips when eating out:
• Be mindful of the utensils you use. Silverware should be spotless.
• Call the attention of the service staff or the manager if you detect unpleasant smells in the dining area.
• Flies or other flying or crawling insects should not be tolerated. When you see insects in a restaurant or hotel, you must inform the owner or the manager. You may also consider choosing another resto or resort.
• Avoid drinking tap water. Instead, buy bottled water or boil water before drinking. Make sure that the seal of the bottled water you are buying is not broken; if you’re in a bar or resto, tell the waiter to hand the bottle unopened.
If you want to make sure that what you’re eating is safe, here’s a simple guide:
• Food should be served at the required temperature. Hot soup should be served hot. A chicken dish that runs with pink juices is poorly cooked; return it to the waiter and ask for a replacement. Frozen or cold desserts should not be lukewarm.
• Foods that have been boiled are generally safe.
• Avoid undercooked or uncooked meat.
• Avoid foods that have to be handled (with bare hands) a lot by the cook or the waiter.
• Avoid ice in drinks if unsure about the quality of drinking water.
• Avoid buffets where there are no food covers.
• Avoid questionable delicacies offered by street vendors.
If you’re up for some food-tasting adventure—trying on local delicacies—make sure you’re near your hotel or temporary lodging. In case you experience stomach problems, you can save yourself the embarrassment of having to use a public toilet.
According to Eric Agus, engineering manager of the Manila Polo Club in Makati, an ideal leisure place should have the following facilities:
In case of power interruption
• a reliable electrical system including a generator;
• emergency lights in common areas (and rooms for hotels);
• warning or information signs posted visibly;
• non-skid or non-abrasive materials on floors and walkways;
• picture windows or glass panes tempered or sheathed with safety film; and
• an alternative water source.
In case of fire
• fire and smoke alarms;
• a sprinkler system;
• fire extinguishers and water hoses instrategic areas;
• fire and building safety certification;
• adequate security and safety personnel;
• a vicinity map complete with directions and information on what to do during emergency cases; and
• emergency exits.
In case of accidents
• a well-equipped clinic to provide first aid treatment and an ambulance; and
• trained emergency personnel in every area.
- Other requirements
- • restrooms with diaper-changing stations and a special provision for the elderly and handicapped;
- • CCTV cameras in strategic locations;
- • standard measurement in driveways and parking slots; and
- • proper ventilation system in enclosed parking areas (especially in basement parking).
For more information about tips on how to check on the hygienic quality of vacation spots, check out our April 2011 issue now available at the newsstands.