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How Not To Be Sick While Traveling: In 8 Simple Ways

I will be traveling this week, and I have been frantically searching the internet for tips that I should follow to avoid getting sick while traveling. While net-surfing, I came across some really good articles where vital tips were shared, tips that will help me ensure I am fine healthwise, when I am on the road.

woman on vacation

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

So, today I will be sharing all that I have learnt over the last week and on my previous trips. Being on the road exposes you to diseases that your system might not be immune to. Also, there so many different kinds of bugs and parasites on the road, and your likelihood to collect a bug or two increases with an increase in the duration of your trip.

Suggested read: My 40 Best Travel Tips That Will Make You The Coolest Traveler You Know

According to Dayvee Sutton, who writes for U.S. News,

“To ensure a healthy travel experience, first be sure that you’re not showing any symptoms of illness before you depart. If you are, do not board your flight. The stress, lack of sleep and physical stress you’ll encounter while on the road will only amplify any pre-existing ailments you may or may not be battling.” 

The next thing one should do to avoid getting sick is to identify and then minimize the risk factors. As they say, prevention is always better than cure.

1. Wash your hands

woman holding up her hands_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

No matter how basic it sounds, this is ESSENTIAL. Not many people realize this, but they constantly forget to wash their hands while they are traveling. Washing one’s hands properly is key to controlling infection.

Washing one’s hands should be a practice that you religiously follow on a day-to-day basis so that it becomes a routine even when you are on the road.

To stop an infection from spreading, one has to be particular about hand hygiene. This simple step of washing your hands multiple times a day can drastically lower the odds of getting diarrhea, food poisoning, flu, MRSA, nausea and vomiting, gastroenteritis and even something as serious as hepatitis A.

You can carry a bottle of water with you or a hand sanitizer so that you can wash your hands or sanitize them where there is no water available.

2. Drink only bottled water

No matter where you are traveling, it is the safest to drink only bottled water. Because an area that might appear sanitize on the surface, might not be providing water as clean as you would expect. Local tap water should be avoided, because your stomach may not be strong enough to fight the infections in it, in turn making you ill.

Avoid asking for ice for your drink unless you know the water used to prepare it is clean and sanitized.

When you purchase water from a shop, always ensure the seal is intact. Make sure it is not a bottle restocked with tap water.

You might even want to use bottled water while brushing your teeth instead of local tap water.

To save money, it is better to but a water bottle that has a built-in filter. Buying bottles of mineral water continuously can harm your pocket and the environment.

3. Pay attention to the food you are eating

Home remedies for food poisoning_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Contaminated food is the most common cause of sickness in travelers. All gastrointestinal problems are a result of contaminated food. And so, you need to be careful about what you are consuming while you are traveling. You do not want to expose yourself to E. coli or Giardia, vomiting, diarrhea, salmonella or cholera etc.

To take precaution, make sure what you are eating is fresh. It should be cooked thoroughly and when you eat it, ensure it is piping hot.

If you are someone who loves street food, like me, then one way of staying safe is by ensuring the cooking environment is clean and hygienic. Also, the food should be prepared in front of you. Make sure the person who is handling your food is wearing a pair of disposable gloves, and see whether or not he or she removes his gloves every time they are handling money.

A few dishes one should avoid while traveling to make sure they do not get sick are, salads, raw fruits that aren’t skinned by you, food left exposed in the open for a long time, and shared food such as buffets.

4. Have familiar food

We all love trying out local food during our travels, and I am saying you should definitely do that, but having said that, you should maintain a healthy balance and have familiar food every once in a while to give your stomach time to adjust.

A diet with spices your tummy isn’t aware of, can wreak some gastrointestinal havoc.

The digestive system takes longer to digest unfamiliar food, and can even irritate the digestive tract causing stomach ache, vomiting, heartburn and diarrhea. So, what you should do is try new cuisine, but mix it up a little bit.

Suggested read: 9 Inspiring And Exotic Travel Destinations For Soul-searching

5. Stay active

couple jogging_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

Exercise is the best way to stay fit and healthy while traveling. We all know how beneficial exercise can be to strengthen the immune system. A stronger immune system can thwart of any disease, helping you to avoid getting sick.

Also, if one gets ill while traveling, regular exercise ensures that it gets treated quicker than otherwise. Yes, fit people also get sick, but maintain a healthy lifestyle increases your chances of not getting sick.

If you are someone who works out regularly, that should not change even when you are traveling. People who stop exercising when on the road run a greater risk of falling ill during the trip.

6. Sun protection

Sunburn can wreck a travel experience and I know this because I have been through this myself. Especially if you are visiting beaches and are planning to participate in water sports, you should not forget to apply and reapply sunscreen every one or two hours.

You should carry with you a sunscreen of sun protection of factor 15 and above. SPF 30 is what we suggest, though.

Sun protection is not only about not getting sunburnt, it is also about keeping the skin hydrated. If you are traveling to a tropical country, a country whose climate is drastically different from yours, your skin might have a tough time staying hydrated. This can result in heatstroke too, which is a medical emergency.

7. Get vaccinated

A common concern when traveling, and it is something that should not be dodged. Before you leave for a new place, you need to find out about the prevalent illnesses and infections there, and get vaccinated for them in advance.

The only way to protect against a disease in the true sense is by preventing it, and only timely vaccination can help you do that.

For this reason, it is suggested you get personal advice from a local travel clinic that will update you about all the vaccinations you should take before going to the specific place.

8. Safeguard yourself from mosquito bites

mosquito bite_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

Yes, this might seem stupid, but you have no clue how annoying it can be, if not life threatening.

They can cause itchy welts, and can also cause diseases like yellow fever, chikungunya, malaria, Japanese encephalitis etc,

To minimize mosquito bites, do for rooms that are air–conditioned. This will ensure the pesky creatures are not allowed inside. Always keep yourself covered. Do this especially near stagnant water bodies after the sun is down. Also stay away from other mosquito breeding grounds.

Use a mosquito net while sleeping, for complete protection. Make sure the net is coated with permethrin. For extra safety use mosquito repellents. Close the bathroom door while sleeping to not let mosquitoes into your room.

You should also take anti-malarials, which are medications. However, these anti-malarials have certain side effects that you should be aware of.

Suggested read: Millennial Dating And Traveling – How Many Of Them Hope To Find Love While Traveling

These are 8 basic steps one should follow in order to not get sick while traveling. These precautions will ensure your risks of falling sick are really low. These will help you enjoy your trip without worrying about the diseases around or the infections that you might catch.

These health tips help ensure that your health is in your hands, even when you are traveling to a new land or are in an unknown country where everything is unfamiliar to you.

Before you leave for the trip, here is one thing you need to do says Monika Woolsey, a nutritionist, to Fox News,

“Make a list of medical contacts at your destination. Also make a short list of translated words that you can use to point to if you do have to see a doctor. Also ask your home physician if he or she will be available to take calls from foreign doctors when you are traveling.”

That is a wrap on today’s post on 8 ways to avoid getting ill while you are traveling. Did you find this guide useful? Let us know.

If you think we missed out on some vital tips, which is possible because this list is not exhaustive, then please include them in the comment section. We love hearing from you!

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Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

Article Name
8 Ways To Avoid Getting Sick When You’re Traveling
Here are 8 tips that ensure your health is in your hands, even when you are traveling so that you can avoid getting sick.
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.