No one yearns for the stomach flu or a respiratory illness.. Coming down with any illness or injury is frustrating, but when you are away from the comforts of home and your favorite pair of slippers, the entire experience can be utterly exasperating! With these few travel tips, you can reduce the likelihood of picking up an unwanted viral or bacterial traveling partner and enjoy your trip as planned.
There is no better way to maintain good health while on the road than sufficient hydration. The source and safety of your water needs to be known. Stick to bottled water and avoid drinks made with ice. Be the one to unscrew or pop the top of your own bottle. This way you can be certain that the seal has not been previously broken. If you can tolerate the effervescence, carbonated water or seltzer is nearly a fool proof way of safe water assurance. If you hear it bubble, you’re free from trouble! Air travel can be very dehydrating, so skip the alcohol and once you pass through security, and hit the water bar instead!
Never eat undercooked or raw meat. Skip the street venders or restaurants that do not have adequate indoor plumbing and hand washing facilities. Always wash fresh fruits and veggies and treat them with iodine or bleach soak solution if the water in the area is not properly treated. If are not certain how long a food has been sitting out, politely skip it.
Frequent hand washing is the best way of preventing communicable diseases. Wash before eating and after handling money or items in stores or public places. Always carry antibacterial hand gel or wipes as hand washing facilities may not always be available.
Prevent Insect and Animal–Borne Illnesses
Wear long pants and long- sleeved shirts when possible, especially in areas where malaria or Dengue is prevalent. Carry insect repellent and apply it frequently. Sleep under mosquito netting in areas where there is increased risk of insect bites, and be certain to shake out the netting each night before sleep.
Schedule and Sleep
When traveling long distances and crossing several time zones, it is best to assume the activities in the time zone in which you land. For example, if you depart in the morning, and arrive at your destination in the morning, try to stay up until an “early” bedtime hour rather than sleeping the day away and being up all night. If you must rest, set your alarm for a MAXIMUM two hour nap. Then shower up and get active. The faster you adjust to the hour of your destination, the more time you will have to enjoy. Get a minimum of 8 CONSECUTIVE hours of rest to prevent exhausting your body and becoming “run down”.
Finally, be Prepared
Even the savviest traveler comes down with a little something every now and again. Following the above precautions and purchasing a travel insurance policy prior to departure will provide you with more than just piece of mind. Safe travels and soft landings.
Gabrielle Bartusiak, RN
President/CEO Rescue Nurse International. Has traveled solo to more than 70 countries world wide and has repatriated 100's of patients over her career.