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Staying Healthy While Traveling

We’ve all heard the cliché “Don’t drink the water,” but staying healthy during travel is a bit more complex, especially if you are prone to getting sick more easily than others. Airports themselves are cesspools for germs, so the likelihood of ending up with something during a trip is not uncommon. I have personally experienced everything from colds and gastrointestinal upset to a double ear infection and full body hives!

Although getting sick is never fun, don’t let fears about health prevent you from traveling! The key is to be prepared for specific destinations and know the resources available prior to leaving home so you can plan accordingly. Here are some helpful tips to stay healthy while traveling so you can enjoy your trip:

 

  1. Visit your local passport clinic to ensure you have any required vaccines or recommended medication for your destination, such as malaria prophylaxis.
  2. Have your doctor write you a prescription for an antibiotic you can take with you just in case you do get an infection. This is helpful if you’re going to be in a remote place where a pharmacy or clinic may not be readily available.
  3. Purchase global health insurance if it gives you extra peace of mind (especially useful if traveling to remote places where you might need medical transport).
  4. Bring snacks from home that you can turn to if you’re feeling under the weather and want something familiar (My go-to is Ritz peanut butter crackers).
  5. Pack a health kit for a range of possibilities. Suggested items include:
    1. First aid kit for cuts and scrapes
    2. Hand sanitizer/Hand wipes 
    3. Anti-diarrheal medicine (think long car rides or flights when the seatbelt sign is on)
    4. Cough drops (these have saved me on many occasions and are also great to give out to the coughing passenger beside you!)
    5. Pedialyte packets for quick rehydration 
    6. Dramamine
    7. Benadryl and an EpiPen (if applicable)
    8. Pain reliever (Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, etc.)
    9. Sinus/Cold medicine (flying with ear congestion is especially uncomfortable)
    10. Antacid
    11. Sunscreen/Aloe vera gel
    12. Insect repellant (Pro Tip: The lotion kind with eucalyptus works really well in South America)

Finally, try not to stress. Despite the clichés, you’ll find the water in some destinations is purer than at home. If you’re hesitant about the local food, you can find grocery stores to purchase items that are safe for you. Also, keep in mind that many countries have free or inexpensive medical care available to tourists in the event of an emergency. So even if you do get sick, you can get the care you need and still have a good trip.

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