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Falling sick when on a trip sucks. It takes the fun out of the trip and it feels like you’ve wasted your time and money. There is a higher risk of getting sick while traveling for several reasons. One, traveling can be stressful, which leaves you vulnerable to various health problems. Two, you get exposed to environments where it is easier to pick up an infection such as crowded airplanes, contaminated surfaces and other public areas.
Sometimes there is nothing you could have done to prevent an illness. Maybe you have a pre-existing condition or something happens unexpectedly. That’s why you should have travel health insurance. But often, there are steps you can take to help you stay safe and healthy when on a trip. Here are 8 tips to avoid getting sick when traveling.
1. Get The Necessary Vaccines
If you are traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to check what diseases you are at the most risk of getting and get vaccinated against them.
For instance if you are going to Thailand, you should get vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Yellow Fever among others. For Costa Rica, you’ll need vaccination or medication for malaria, measles, rabies and others.
No matter your destination, you should be up to date on some basic vaccines including Covid-19, flu, chickenpox, and polio.
2. Stay Hydrated and Get Plenty of Rest
Dehydration not only causes uncomfortable symptoms like headache, fatigue and nausea; it can also make it easier for some diseases to take hold. The stress of travel only adds to this risk.
So drink plenty of water before you start traveling, during travel and throughout your vacation. If you are taking a long flight, cut back on the coffee and drink more water. Avoiding coffee will also help you get plenty of rest on the flight.
Sleeping and resting will help keep you healthy and energetic. Once you arrive, take some time to rest and recover from traveling. It will help you get over jet lag quicker.
3. Wear a Mask in Public Areas
Even if you are no longer concerned about Covid-19, it’s still a good idea to don a mask whenever you are in a public area, especially a crowded one. Places like airplanes, airports, trains and restaurants are filled with airborne germs.
You may not get Covid, but you could pick up some other airborne disease. So we recommend getting a good quality mask that’s comfortable. We recommend the Hercleon Aplu flight mask. It’s designed to feel super comfortable even when you wear it for hours. It’s great for sensitive skin since it doesn't cause maskne (mask acne).
4. Sanitize/Wash Hands Often
If you could walk around with a microscope, you’d probably not touch any surface in airplanes, stairways and other public areas. All kinds of germs and bacteria linger unseen everywhere.
It is inevitable that you will pick some of them up. Just remember to wash your hands with soap and water often. Also keep a sanitizer with you for when you can wash hands.
To reduce your risk of getting sick, always sanitize or wash hands before eating (even if it’s just a snack), don’t put your fingers in your mouth and avoid touching your face with your hands (can cause acne and other breakouts).
5. Watch Out for Insects
If you are traveling to a tropical destination, you will encounter lots of insects and bugs that can transmit diseases like malaria. Make sure you are vaccinated or are taking preventative medication. You should also carry insect repellent to keep the bugs away.
6. Watch What You Eat & Drink
Contaminated foods and drinks can cause, at the very least, a bad tummy, and at worst, a serious food-borne illness like cholera or typhoid.
To be safe, only eat at sanitary restaurants and food stands. If you want to enjoy street food, opt for foods that are served hot and avoid any raw foods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables unless you wash them yourself. Also only drink bottled water and avoid ice.
Don’t forget to watch out for any foods and ingredients you are allergic to.
7. If Your Have a Health Problem, Carry Medication
If you have an existing health problem, then there is a risk that you could get worse during the trip. To be safe, carry any medications you are currently using or might need in an emergency.
It’s also a good idea to go for a checkup before you travel just to ensure you are okay to undertake the trip.
8. Don’t Push Yourself
Finally, take it slow on your trip. Don't pack your itinerary to cover every minute of the day. You could strain yourself and fall sick.
When planning for the trip, pick your favorite activities and places, giving yourself plenty of time to enjoy each.