Whether you're taking a car trip to the local campground or flying across the world for new adventure, health doesn't always like going on vacation with you. A change of scenery may be good for the soul but can put a strain on the body. No one wants to get sick on their well-earned day off or when they're traveling for business.
These simple travel tips are a great way to keep healthy and safe while you're on the go be it across the world, cross-country or cross state.
Be aware of health advisories. Stay up to date on all your shots and vaccines. The CDC keeps an updated list of health notices. This will also let you know if you need to pack something special for your trip, like a mosquito net. Stock up on vitamins before and during your trip to keep your immune system at it's strongest. Crowded areas like planes, buses, trains and even car trips are filled with large amount of people in a small space breathing the same air. Boosting your vitamin C intake for even a short amount time may help increase the antioxidants in your system and lower your chances of catching something.
Hand sanitizer and wet wipes keep unwanted germs off your hands and out of your body. Nothing beats old fashioned hand washing but while on-the-go, these are a must. Keep aware of the biggest germ spots - plane tray tables, hotel remote controls, restaurant menus and of course public bathrooms.
Get medications (and supplements) in order. It may seem a little silly to point out you should continue taking your prescription medicine while on vacation but make sure to keep it on you in a carry-on bag if you're traveling by plane. Never pack your medication in a checked bag (and risk it getting lost). You should also plan to keep taking your daily supplements and vitamins. While vacations are for taking breaks, keeping up with your daily health routines (and exercise, just throwing that in there) will keep your body feeling more regular. It will also cut down the adjustment time coming home from your trip. We all know how miserable those days are.
Be aware of what you're eating and drinking. Don't get us wrong, go out and explore! However, keep an eye out for raw meat, unpasteurized milk or food that's been sitting out like in a buffet on a cruise ship. Also, stick to bottled water in developing countries. The CDC has a great list of what to eat and drink depending on where you're going. We all have different metabolisms and tolerances for food grades and bacteria so something that won't make a local sick may turn your stomach.
If you do get the unfortunate travelers' diarrhea (the most common travel-related illness), make sure to keep your fluids up with a safe water source. Ask your doctor about an antibiotic before you leave in case this happens so you can treat it early. If you can't get an antibiotic, having an over-the-counter treatment
is good to have on hand too.
Pack bug repellent if you're traveling to the tropics or overseas. You may be thinking more about sunscreen when you hit up the Bahamas but products with at least 20% DEET will help keep unwanted pests from biting. This can help prevent minor annoyances and major health concerns if you get bitten by a lucky bug carrying a big disease (like Lyme). Get plenty of sleep during travel. If you're going on vacation this may seem like your ultimate goal but many forget to relax during their journey to exciting new places. Cutting back on sleep can put a huge strain on your body's immune system and make you more vulnerable to even minor illnesses like the common cold. Use a natural sleep aid like Dream Water to rest on the plane or in the car. You can fight jet lag with Melatonin.
To go along with our tips, we have a basic packing list incorporating everything we touched on above:
Any prescription medications and supplements you're currently taking
Basic First Aid kit (bandages, tweezers, antiseptic, gauze, ace bandage)Pain medication (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
Preparation is key to staying healthy while traveling. How much preparation you need depends on your destination and travel time but taking a little extra time before your trip can ease the strain and help you enjoy all this world has to offer without getting sick.
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