For many different reasons, it’s very common to get sick when traveling. Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of falling ill and staying healthy during your travels.
Before you travel:
Visit your doctor or a travel clinic
Vaccines can be a powerful tool to help you combat risks in new destinations. Make sure to research in advance for any health risks in the country you are visiting – the CDC Travel Health website provides travel health information for travelers. You can also plan in advance a visit to your doctor or a travel clinic prior to your trip to get advice on prevention and any vaccines you may require, which can depend on where you’re going, as well as other factors.
Boost your immune system
Taking vitamin C before boarding your flight can help you boost your immunity to protect you against germs that can easily spread in airplanes. Regular exercise also helps you improve your overall health and stay fit to fight off infections.
Pack a medical kit
In addition to take with you any medical prescriptions you take at home, consider taking some medications for fighting cold symptoms and first-aid items. Mosquito repellent products can also be very important if you’re traveling to areas where mosquitos carry serious diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever.
While you’re away:
Drink filtered or bottled water
One of the most common sources of dietary issues while traveling is drinking water, including ice. While we’ve been encouraged to drink tap water environmental reasons, you can’t always be sure of the purity of the water in all the places you explore. Many areas lack the standards of sanitation that you may be used to in your home country, in which case it’s best to stay safe and drink water from sealed bottles, or use a water bottle with a built-in filter. It may also be a good idea to keep a bottle by the sink to brush your teeth, and avoid getting ice when ordering your drinks.
Be careful with food
You may feel adventurous and keen on trying exotic foods while exploring a new place, but it’s important to be conscious of the risks. Food contamination is a common cause of traveler’s diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Being careful with what you eat could keep you safe from diarrhea, salmonella, cholera and other diseases. Try your best to consume food that is fresh, cooked thoroughly and/or served piping hot. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, avoid salads that may have been prepared with local untreated water and raw fruit that you haven’t peeled yourself.
Wash your hands
Hand-washing is very important, as traveling exposes you to new environments and a range of different bacteria. Make sure to wash your hands before you eat, and wash them regularly and thoroughly. You can also carry a portable hand sanitizer with you for those times when the bathroom is not accessible.
Upon your return:
Make sure you rest well before diving back into your routine. Keep yourself hydrated with plenty of fluids. Watch out for any symptoms and seek medical advice from a travel health expert if you develop any symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath or diarrhea after your return.
Source: Based on information from SmarterTravel and US News.