Healthy Living Tips In Afghanistan

Download a doctor's presentation on healthy living tips for expatriates in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is an extremely high-risk, high-stress country to live in. It is imperative for expatriates to live in a manner which enables them to minimize sickness while they serve in the development and reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

As is typical in battle zone places, high adrenaline, depression, excitement, loneliness, sickness, and exhilaration are the "bag" of mixed emotions one may feel. Eating right, getting adequate amounts of sleep, common sense, and being able to laugh will help you not only survive, but live joyfully in Afghanistan.

Benefits of Living Healthy

  • You can get super sick in Afghanistan. Following some of my tips below and other pages from the Living in Afghanistan section, you will have less sick days, and will avoid the "sitting-on-the-toilet-all-night-with-a-bucket-to-your-mouth-All-Night-syndrome! (Believe me, I've been there.)

  • Your Afghan colleagues won't ask you, "Why do foreigners get so sick all the time?"

  • You will enjoy the challenges of your job more and hopefully "rise" to the occasion.
  • You will enjoy the Afghan culture safely and develop lasting friendships.

Tips from a Mom Who Has Raised her Own Children in Afghanistan

  1. Review my pages on cleaning your food, eating only meat which is well-done, drinking safe drinking water, and having all your vaccines will help you.

  2. From personal experience, I also advise new people to bring a bottle of Probiotics, and take them regularly (I'm a mom, not a doctor, so check with your doctor for additional recommendations). Having healthy intestines will help your immune system to have a stronger chance against all the new "bugs" you may be picking up.

  3. Intestinal sickness is commonly experienced. It is easy to pick up a parasite or worm.

    Inexpensive medicines may be purchased in the bazaar without a prescription. Strepsils (throat lozenges) are also extremely inexpensive in the bazaar, and are properly packaged.

  4. It is common for expatriates to bring the book, "Where There is No Doctor." I have personally never had any doctor advising me actually agree with the diagnosis' from that book. So unless you will be out in the bush where there literally is no doctor, you can probably skip bringing this book.

  5. The duststorms (khakbads) kick up a lot of germs. There is a high level of fecal matter in the air, especially in Kabul and in the other big cities of Afghanistan. It is quite common to get sick, simply from the dust. So Keep Your House Clean.
  6. Another healthy living tip regarding eating fast food in the bazaars : Afghan fast food is delicious. However, ask an educated, trusted Afghan friend or colleague to tell you which kebab, french fry, and bulani stands are considered "clean" and "delicious" by other Afghans. They will have definite opinions on which guy is their favorite.

  7. When you send your most trusted guard or cook out to purchase the kebabs and french fries for you, ask them to stand there and watch the guy french cook your meat and french fries (chips). Don't take anything which has been sitting out.

  8. Take frequent breaks (at least quarterly, if possible)

  9. Leave enough margin - spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally, and culturally for emergencies. This means that if you have had a rough day in any one of these areas, rest a bit more, so that you don't use up what "margin" you already have for the emergencies and "bad culture days" you may experience.

  10. Download my Afghanistan Travel Guide for additional tips.
  11. Check back, as I'll add more healthy living tips as I think of them!

Learn how to properly process meat in Afghanistan

Learn more Living in Afghanistan tips

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