Whether you’re jetting off for a week or for a year, keeping healthy is the best way to make sure you enjoy any trip you take. Whether you are backpacking through the jungle or standing on top of the Eiffel Tower, nobody wants to experience the world while feeling ill or run-down.
There are so many easy steps people can take to manage their health when they are away from home, but too many people simply forget the basics of keeping healthy when they are out having fun. Nobody wants to travel nursing an injury or illness, so keep on top of your game and be safe to maximize the fun of your trip. Just in case you need a little reminder, here is our guide to the top 5 ways to stay healthy as you travel.
1. Remember your medication
If you take any medication, make sure you take enough with you not just to last for the length of the trip but also to cover any delays or any losses. Check with local laws just in case there are rules about bringing prescription medication into the country of your visit.
2. Be wary of what you drink
The quickest way to become ill when abroad is drinking bad water, and the consequences can range from an upset stomach all the way to a life-threatening illness. Check beforehand whether it is okay to drink tap water in the countries that you visit, as in many places the water contains minerals or chemicals that non-locals will balk at.
Similarly you must be extremely careful with water if you are traveling in the developing world. While many locals have immune systems that are hardy enough to withstand their water, the same might not be true for an outsider. Even if water looks clean and you can see locals drinking it, you should be wary as what is good for them many not be so good for you. If you are in doubt, boil the water or use water purification tablets.
Remember that water isn’t just what you drink. Avoid asking for drinks with ice as you don’t know where the ice has come from, and if you can control it make sure your food is cooked with clean water.
3. Eat and sleep well
The easiest way to keep a strong immune system and stay at your best is to simply eat and sleep well, but that advice is often forgotten when it comes to traveling. When and where possible, make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of both sleep and healthy food. Just because there is a McDonalds in practically every country does not mean you should EAT a McDonalds in practically every country.
Check out what vaccinations you need or are recommended for the countries you are traveling. In some places, proof of vaccination (most commonly ‘yellow fever certificates’) are needed before you enter a country. Even if it is only a recommendation, do a bit of cost/benefit analysis and most of the time it is worth shelling out for a vaccination to be on the safe side.
Bear in mind the logistics of your trip when you’re making choices about vaccinations. For example, if you will be visiting rural areas and you are more than 12 hours travel away from a hospital then it is recommended that you get a rabies vaccination (as not receiving a rabies injection quickly after being bitten can be the differences between life and death).
5. Insect repellent is your friend
If you are heading to the tropics, then make sure you bring plenty of long-sleeved clothing and a ton of inspect repellant. Mosquito bites are more than just annoying: they can be deadly if you are unlucky enough. The best way to prevent horrible diseases like malaria is to not be bitten in the first place. Stay indoors around dusk, where long sleeved trousers and tops and try repel as many insects as you can.
This is a guest post by Victoria Abrams. Victoria currently represents Travel Nurse across America providing the most complex services for traveling healthcare professionals among the online travel nursing agencies.