Traveling is wonderful in many ways, but sometimes it can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. It’s important to take extra precautions to keep yourself healthy, so we’ve made a list of tips to remember for your next trip.
Wash Your Hands
Whether you’re on a plane, train, or coach, the best way to make sure you aren’t picking up germs is to keep your hands clean.
Use Antibacterial Wipes
Wipe down all common surfaces before you touch them since these have been touched by many people. If you think you may be coming down with something, you can also clean surfaces as a courtesy to others.
Take Vitamin Supplements
Make sure you are taking zinc supplements, as well as vitamins C & D to boost your immune system. Zinc lozenges & vitamin supplements are easy to find at any local pharmacy.
Hydrate Your Body
It’s important to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of water (typically 8 cups/day), but you’ll need to drink even more water when flying. The change in altitude & dry air can cause dehydration so it’s important to drink water regularly. You can bring an empty bottle through the security checkpoint & fill it up at a water fountain near the gate to bring on board with you.
Make Sure Prescriptions are Up-to-Date
If you can, acquire original prescriptions or explanatory notes from the doctors who gave them to you & keep them in the same container. Some countries may question prescription medications at the border so you want to have proof that they are medically necessary.
Check with the CDC well in advance of any international travel to ensure that you are up-to-date on any recommended immunizations. You may also want to consider getting a flu vaccine at least a week or two prior to your trip if you’ll be traveling during cold & flu season.
Pack a First Aid Kit
Keep a mini first aid kit on hand. Some items to consider packing include a thermometer, allergy pills, Band-Aids, Tylenol, eye drops, nasal spray, anti-diarrhea pills, decongestants, antacid tablets, antibiotics & motion sickness pills. For those with asthma, make sure to pack an inhaler & an EpiPen for anyone who has severe allergies.
Get Your Rest
Our bodies need sleep to keep our immune systems healthy, so try to get eight hours of sleep a night.
Travel with Your Own Blanket & Pillow
Carrying your own light blanket or shawl, as well as an inflatable or portable pillow can act as another precaution against the spread of germs.
Skip the Cocktail
Alcohol will dehydrate you & also contributes to jet lag. While some people may drink an adult beverage during a flight to help them sleep, consider alternate options like melatonin or drinking an herbal tea.
Make sure to get up & walk around frequently when you have a long flight or car ride. Moving your legs around gets circulation through your blood & lymph system, aiding in illness prevention.
Don’t Forget to Wear Sunscreen
To protect your skin from harmful rays, make sure to pack a good sunscreen. We recommend SPF 30 or higher.
Keep Bugs at Bay
If you’re visiting a country with an increased risk of mosquito-borne disease, protect yourself with an insect repellant that contains DEET. You can also wear permethrin-coated clothing & use bed nets at night.
Safe Food & Water
In countries where there’s a risk of traveler’s diarrhea, stick to steaming-hot, well-cooked foods. You’ll also need to stick to commercially-sealed bottles of water or soda, avoiding ice. You should even use bottled water when brushing your teeth.
Purchase Travel Insurance
When traveling internationally, you should purchase a valid travel health care plan. If you are visiting a country with developing resources, make sure you ask about airlift or evacuation services. Some countries actually require visitors to show proof of this on arrival.
We also believe it is important to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically. While travel is a gift, it can also be stressful or scary. Be sure to read up on managing stress and emotional well-being before your journey.