Lifestyle

5 Must Do’s to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Traveling abroad can be exciting, but it also involves certain risks. The lure of exotic locations is undeniable but it is vital to stay healthy while traveling. After all, traveling will hardly be exhilarating if you fall ill. There is also the risk of contracting illnesses that can possibly be fatal.  

Here are our healthy traveling tips that you should follow.

1.     Keep a Medical Supply Kit Ready

While traveling to foreign destinations, especially developing countries, you must bear in mind that getting common medications and supplies is not guaranteed. Even if they are available, it may be difficult for you to buy them since you may not be aware of the area. It is always better to have a medical kit rather than go through the hassle of finding them. There is also the risk that they may not be available at all.  

Make sure that you are carrying all of your prescriptions and that you have enough for the duration of your travels. You should also have anti-malarial medicine and an antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea.

You should carry medicines like diarrhea medication, antihistamines, antacid, cough medicine, decongestant, motion sickness medicine, mild sedative, mild laxative and fever medicine. (1)

There is a high risk of catching an illness before you have even set foot on your intended destination. There is a 6% risk of catching an infectious illness if you are within two rows of an infected individual. (2)

Carrying hand sanitizer and diligently washing your hands is always recommended .

2.     Travel Vaccinations

It is important that you keep certain medications ready and also take vaccinations for communicable diseases like malaria, typhoid and hepatitis. In certain countries, it is incumbent on travelers to get certain vaccinations. Therefore, you must always check with the travel authority of the country that you will be visiting. Besides getting these vaccinations, you should also arrange necessary documentation to serve as proof of your vaccinations.

It is also advisable to talk to your doctor 6 to 8 weeks before you travel overseas. Your doctor will also be able to suggest vaccines considering your age, medical history, destination and season.

3.     Food and Drinks Safety

Make sure that you observe the highest level of hygiene especially with respect to food and drinks while traveling abroad. Gastrointestinal illnesses are the most common medical problems for those making foreign trips.

Always ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before eating or preparing a meal. Make sure that you carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you.

Make sure that any food you eat is cooked thoroughly. Do not eat the food if it is at room temperature.

Exercise serious caution if you eat food from street vendors since there is a high risk that they are not observing necessary food hygiene.

Drink water that comes out branded water bottles. Make sure that the water bottle brand is an international brand that you will find back home. If water is served to you and you don’t know where it has come from then do not drink it.

Make sure that any dairy products or juices that you consume are pasteurized. Commercially prepared dairy products and juices are usually safe.

(3)

4.     Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is the key to a healthy traveling. You should take care that you get your full requirement of 8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Traveling can make good quality sleep difficult since you have to travel across a different time zone.

The trouble with traveling to a different time zone is that it will disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm which basically functions as your body clock. Jet lag is the disruption in your circadian rhythm brought about by traveling to a different time zone.

To curb jet lag, you will have to change your sleeping patterns. Of course, change will not come overnight but you will start feeling a difference within a few days if you adhere strictly to your new sleeping routine. Back home, it may be easy to fall asleep at 10:00 pm every night, but in the strange new land, falling asleep at this point in time is not easy because your destination may be a few hours ahead or behind your home time zone.

Older people often have greater problems with jet lag. Youngsters and children in particular may have fewer problems and they can adjust more quickly.

During your flight make sure that you avoid alcohol and caffeine since these are disruptive for your sleep and may worsen your jet lag. (4)

There is one interesting study which shows that wearing sunglasses may alleviate the symptoms of jet lag. This method works because the body clock becomes more active at dawn and when sunlight is at its peak. Hence, wearing sunglasses is one way of manipulating the body clock since it is regulated by sunlight intensity. (5)

5.     Healthy Eating and Supplements

Besides food hygiene you should also eat well for optimal nutrition for healthy traveling. You will be able to eat healthy if you plan it from the very outset before embarking on your trip.

Make sure that you inquire from your hotel about all of your food options. You should check the website to see what is on the menu and you should also talk to customer support staff to ensure that the health foods of your choice are available. Make sure that you complete all of your inquiries in this regard a few weeks before setting off on your tour.

Don’t forget to take along your supplements with you during your trip. It would be a good idea to take supplements along with you that help you to protect your immune system and increase your energy levels.

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References

(1) https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart

(2) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214999616307421

(3) https://travel.gc.ca/traveling/health-safety/food-water

(4) http://www.who.int/ith/mode_of_travel/jet_lag/en/

(5) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/4886770.stm

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