How to Stay Healthy When You Travel
Living on a tiny island at the edge of the Pacific Ocean means I regularly travel for 24 hours straight to get to the Mainland. I’ve even gone around the world in 40 days. The human body, no matter how healthy, can only handle so much. The worst thing that can happen is a sickness that ruins your travel. At the risk of sounding mom-ish, here’s how to stay healthy when you travel!
Skip the recycled air
Why? Because it’s recycled germs. Duh! I am always cold on airplanes, so I don’t mind forgoing that little burst of viral plague that hits you right in the eye. Instead use a fan or a cold pack to cool yourself.
I’ve gotten the most sick when I’ve gotten the most cold on a flight. Wear warm layers even if you’re flying to a tropical island. I always bring a scarf, sweater, and thick socks, especially for red eye (overnight) flights.
It is essential to health to replenish the body’s fluids at altitude. Hydration also lessens the effects of jetlag. Airlines are unreasonably stingy with water on some flights. This is one of my biggest pet peeves! Don’t let that get in the way of drinking lots of water. Yes, I push my button and request water often. I also like to sit in an aisle seat near a restroom so I’m not tempted not to get up and pee. I also drink Emergen-C Vitamin C packets if I feel a cold coming on.
For long-haul flights of seven hours or more, consider taking a sleeping pill or having a stiff drink. I know some don’t recommend drinking while flying because it’s dehydrating, but stay with me on this one… The body repairs itself during sleep, so it’s essential to get some shut-eye, even if you have to force yourself. This goes for the time you spend on the ground. Bring an eye mask, ear plugs, and an inflatable travel pillow for maximum comfort. I bring a an inflatable foot rest as well to avoid back pain in those awful coach seats!
During road trips, I’m sometimes guilty of borrowing sleep time to get from Point A to Point B, but I don’t recommend doing that more than once a week while traveling.
Keep hands clean
The easiest way to infect yourself is with your hands — touching eyes, nose, and mouth. I may look OCD, but I’m constantly using scented hand wipes to keep my hands clean, so I bring at least a pack for each flight. Wipees are great when siteseeing because bathrooms are downright nefarious in some places.
Take your medicine
You will find that pharmaceutical regulations vary from country to country. Over-the-counter drugs in the States may require a prescription in say, Australia. Then again, you may be able to get fairly strong prescription medications over-the-counter in other countries! Bring more than enough of your own medication and prescriptions and ask a local pharmacy tech or doctor to explain use and dosage of unfamiliar medications in foreign countries.