When you have saved up money and set aside time for a week of fun and relaxation, the last thing you want to do is get sick. Yet, spending time on public transportation or traveling to foreign locales can introduce many opportunities for illness. Take note of these 14 tips to prevent sickness on your vacation so you can maximize your fun.
14. Determine If You Need Vaccinations
If you plan to travel to less developed countries, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to see if they recommend any vaccinations before traveling. The need for vaccines depends on which countries you will be visiting, your current health, and your planned activities. Vaccines against hepatitis, typhoid, rabies, yellow fever, and malaria may be beneficial when traveling to certain countries. Additionally, it is wise to ensure you are up to date on vaccinations against the flu, pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria. You can visit the CDC to determine whether you should consider vaccination before traveling abroad.
13. Pack Medications
When traveling out of the country, it can be helpful to bring along any medications you may need. Check with the government of the country you will be visiting to determine if there are any restrictions regarding medications you may bring into the country. In addition to your usual prescriptions, you may want to pack medications for treating illnesses that may arise. The CDC warns that drugs manufactured in other countries may not be subjected to the same stringent guidelines upheld in the US. Examples of medications that may be useful are anti-inflammatories, antidiarrheal agents, and first aid items.
12. Wear Socks to the Airport
Protect your feet from germs by wearing shoes and socks when flying. If you don’t go barefoot in the showers at your local gym, you won’t want to go barefoot while making your way through airport security. Avoid picking up fungal infections and keep your tootsies safe and sanitary by wearing socks inside your shoes instead of wearing sandals or flip-flops. To streamline the process, wear a comfy pair of slip-on shoes you can easily take off and slip back on once you are through security.
11. Carry Antibacterial Wipes
Good old-fashioned soap and water are more than adequate for keeping your hands and surfaces sanitary at home. While traveling, protect your vacation investment and your health by carrying antibacterial wipes and hand gel. These handy products can help fend off germs beginning at the airport. Use them to wipe down the armrests on waiting room chairs at the gate. Give the airplane tray table a good scrubbing before using it to hold your belongings. Since making your way to the restroom in flight can be tricky, use antibacterial gel to disinfect your hands before eating on the plane.
10. Open the Airplane Air Vent
Being trapped in an airplane with hundreds of strangers, some of whom may be sick, carries the potential for coming down with an illness. While you may be tempted to turn off the little air vent above your head, doing so will increase your chances of falling ill. According to Travel and Leisure, keeping the air vent on during a flight creates air currents that prevent bacteria from settling in your space. Rather than spending the journey surrounded by a cloud of microbes, you can use the air vent to blast the germs down toward your lap and away from your face.
9. Hydrate While Flying
Keep your immune system at peak performance by keeping your body well hydrated while flying. Drinking enough water provides your body cells and organs with the proper hydration to carry out daily functions. It also allows your kidneys to flush toxins from your system. Don’t wait until the day of your flight to provide your body with the necessary hydration. If you know you don’t drink enough water on a daily basis, commit to increasing your intake beginning a day or two before your flight. To further prevent dehydration, skip the alcoholic beverages while in flight.
8. Stretch Your Legs
If your travel plans involve a long flight or car ride, be sure to provide your muscles and circulatory system a reprieve from sitting. Sitting for long periods not only causes your muscles to cramp, but it can also create a dangerous deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT occurs when your circulation becomes sluggish, allowing a blood clot to form. As challenging as it is to navigate the airplane aisle, try to get up and move around during a long flight. When traveling by car, plan to stop every two hours for a short break to stretch your legs.
7. Avoid Soaking in the Hotel Bathtub
A relaxing bubble bath can sound heavenly after a long trip, but you may want to avoid hotel bathtubs. The bathtub may look clean and probably undergoes a daily wipe-down. However, a study by the American Society for Microbiology found that some of the germiest items in a hotel include the housekeeping cleaning supplies. Therefore, taking a bath in the hotel tub may mean soaking in a bath of microbes or chemicals left behind by a cleaning rag. Other items that may harbor germs in your hotel room include the television remote, the light switch, and the door handle.
6. Stick to Bottled Water
On the airplane, stick to bottled water rather than tap water. Additionally, some countries may not have access to the same water purification you are accustomed to. In those areas, the local residents have built up an immunity to impurities in the water. Choose bottled water rather than risk introducing diarrhea-causing microbes to your system. Furthermore, you will want to avoid beverages containing ice made from tap water in these regions. Shun fresh salsa, cut-up fruits, and freshly squeezed juices to prevent illness as well.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Don’t skimp on sleep just because you are on vacation. Allowing your body plenty of rest keeps your organs functioning smoothly and your immune system at top performance. Additionally, proper sleep keeps your mind refreshed and ready to take on the adventures of each day. Following a day of fun, allow your mind and body time to relax and unwind in preparation for a good night’s sleep. This helps you make the most of the time on your trip. It also helps ensure you reenter your regular life well-rested and energetic.
4. Continue to Exercise
While vacations are meant to be fun, continue to provide your body with the exercise it needs. This helps you continue to build strong muscles and strengthen your heart. Hitting the gym may be a part of your normal daily routine. If so, pack some workout clothes and check out the gym at your hotel. Skip the taxi and explore new places on foot. Not only will your heart, lungs, and muscles reap the benefits, but you may also see sights you would otherwise have missed.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A vacation is a great time to try new foods and indulge in treats you might otherwise forego. However, keep your body healthy and well nourished by also making wise food choices. Include lean proteins, fiber-rich foods, and leafy vegetables in your vacation diet. This provides your body with the fuel it needs to stay healthy and energetic while away from home.
2. Use Sunscreen
When visiting a sunny locale, be sure to pack your sunscreen. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 each morning before heading outdoors. If you spend time on the beach or in a pool, be sure to reapply your sunscreen after swimming. Make certain to apply sunscreen to your face, ears, scalp, and the tops of your feet. A wide-brimmed hat can protect your scalp, neck, and face from the sun’s harmful rays as well. Additionally, a good pair of UV-protective sunglasses will protect your eyes from damaging rays.
1. Prevent Bug Bites
Since bugs carry disease, be cautious when visiting areas where mosquitoes or biting insects are a problem. Apply bug spray to prevent the transmission of diseases such as dengue, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and malaria. The CDC recommends the use of EPA-registered insect repellents to protect against mosquito-borne diseases. Additionally, wearing long clothing and sleeping under a mosquito net can help prevent mosquito bites.