Whether for business or pleasure, everyone knows that traveling can be fun, but unless you take the necessary health precautions, it can easily turn into a nightmare. No matter where you’re from, spending time in a foreign hospital would definitely put a damper on your trip.
Different rules for different destinations apply, and sometimes the inevitable may be unavoidable. But why take chances with your health when a few easy measures may just save your trip? Here are some tips that may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many little things you can do to boost your immune system while traveling.
It’s routine when you’re traveling to get vaccinated in order to protect yourself against tropical diseases that may exist in certain countries. What people don’t know, however, is when to get vaccinated and which are the common and mandatory jabs you should be getting. As a rule of thumb, you should try to squeeze in your vaccinations 4 to 6 weeks before you travel.
Yellow fever and meningococcal meningitis are two of the diseases you need to get vaccinated against as they can be fatal for people with no natural immunity against them. For a full list of the vaccinations you should be getting depending on the destination you’re traveling to, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most up-to-date information. Also, you can always look to your Liberty Travel Vacation Expert to provide you with appropriate medical advisories regarding your itinerary.
Flying can put a distinct strain on your immune system and you can easily pick up germs in the confinement of an airplane. Here’s how you can prepare your body for the poor air quality on your flight:
- Pop some Vitamin C and/or B-Complex starting a few days before your flight
- Drink plenty of water on board and stay hydrated
- Pack lip balm and lotion for dry lips and skin
- Eat light on board and avoid gassy foods like beans
- Keep moving. On long flights get up and walk up and down the aisles, but even on a short flight, rotate your ankles and stretch your arms to keep your circulation moving
- Bring your own hand sanitizer – one can never have enough of this! Clean your armrest, tray table and seatbelt.
- Avoid sodas, alcohol and caffeine prior to and during the flight (that’s a tough one, we know)
- Say ‘no, thanks’ to the salty snacks – why increase your dehydration levels?
- Bring a pillow cover or carry your own
- Bring your own headphones
As soon as you get off the plane, grab some water to get off on the right start for your trip.
3. Food and Drink away from home
It’s a good idea to be mindful of the food you consume in some countries due to the increased risk of food poisoning or diarrhea. Despite the fact that these two conditions can be treated, being confined to a bed for your holiday from a food-related illness is not a good thing
If you’re unsure of the local cuisine, hotel dining may be the safest bet.
If you need to drink beverages while out and about, make sure to only purchase factory-sealed drinks such as bottled water and soda, or hot beverages such as hot coffee and tea.
You can also purchase water purification pills if you’re going to a remote location and aren’t sure if you’re going to get bottled water.
While eating a salad is generally considered a healthy meal-alternative, in some regions this can be an extremely high risk as the veggies are all washed with the local, un-sanitized water.
Even in countries where you speak the same language, spices and other ingredients may go by a different name. This could inadvertently disguise an ingredient that your system doesn’t favor and cause an adverse reaction. Peanuts, for example, also go by the names earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, ,pygmy nuts and pig nuts. Who knew?
4. Treatment and Insurance
Travel Insurance is fast-becoming a no-brainer. Many credit cards and travel clubs offer automatic coverage, but insurance is now a standard offering at the time of booking your flight. Don’t travel without it!
If you do fall sick in a foreign country, check in with your insurance provider or your nearest embassy or consulate for a list of recommended hospitals and accredited health clinics.
5. First Aid
If you’re unable to pack your own, here’s a checklist of items you should get as soon as you land – or at least know where you can buy them in a hurry:
- Antibiotic ointment
- Mosquito repellent
- Motion sickness medication
- Hand sanitizer
- Allergy medication
- Diarrhea medication
- Painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin
Do you have other health travel tips you’d like to share with travelers? Add them in our comment section below.
Written by Musa Issa