Getting sick while traveling can be an incredibly frustrating experience. Be it flu, headache or food poisoning, it’s definitely gonna dampen your perfectly planned holiday!
Prevention is always better than cure. To that end, here are five tips to avoid getting sick while traveling. Otherwise, the only adventure you’ll be getting out of your trip is from your bed to the pharmacy.
Feel like a champ on your next trip with these tips here:
Wash your hands regularly
This may sound kind of obvious, but it’s something that most people forget to do. Your hand touches EVERYTHING and when you’re traveling, especially by air, you’re exposed to germs from all over the world, whether at the airport or in a new country. Even if you’re not sitting next to a sneezer, you should be carefulwith touching things in the airport — security check trays, kiosks, seats at the gate, you get the drift.
Minimize the spread of germs by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and make sure to scrub those fingers too! Stuck somewhere with no soap and water? Carry a hand sanitizer! Get one of those in travel size, so that you can easily put a few drops onto your hand. Most importantly, keep your fingers off your face as you get easily infected by germs through your mouth, eyes and nose with your fingers.
Also, remember to drink plenty of water while you’re flying as it will help your body counter the effects of dehydration such as headaches, cramps and fatigue. Yes, you might be going to the bathroom for a few more times, but hey, this is better than staying in bed during your vacation!
Wear SPF clothing
Stick to a nutritious diet
What’s a holiday without indulgences because the calories don’t count when you’re traveling, right? But, if you want to avoid getting sick during a holiday, maintaining good health starts from your gut. Eat fiber-rich foods. But, what’s the point of traveling if you’re not gonna try the street food? You could still enjoy it but make sure that the stall surrounding is clean and the vendors have good food hygiene practices. Here are some tips to avoid food poisoning during your trip:
- Are the food vendors wearing gloves? Do they wash their hands frequently? Is the preparation table clean? If you answer ‘yes’ to all the questions, then it’s safe to eat from there.
- If you’re traveling to a country where you’re advised to drink only bottled water, then having ice in your drink is probably not a good idea. Stick to your bottled water, they’re healthier for you!
- Avoid raw seafood and meat if you don’t know how they are stored.
You might experience the occasional stomach upset, especially if you’re traveling long-term. But you can minimize the risk of getting food poisoning if you’re aware of good food hygiene practices and follow them as much as possible.
Bring a basic first aid kit
You should never travel anywhere without a first aid kit. Put them all in a little pouch and one day, it might save your life! The contents of your travel kit will depend on whether you’re backpacking around Europe or hiking Mount Everest. Here are our must-have items to bring during our travels:
- Plasters (bandages)
These are a must-have in any first aid kit. The most common form of minor injury is a cut or graze, so packing a few of these in different sizes would come in handy. You’ll be doing a lot of walking during your travels, so blister plasters are a good idea too.
- Antihistamine cream
You’ve probably been beaten by some insect and end up having allergy reactions such as itchiness or rash. Here’s when antihistamine cream would come in handy. The cream helps to control the itchiness and swelling. It’s a must to have this in your bag if you’re traveling to tropical countries.
- Pain relief medication
Never go anywhere without a small strip of paracetamol. This will come in handy when you have a headache, low-grade fever or minor pain, especially after spending long hours traveling.
- Antiseptic wipes
Antiseptic wipes are an absolute essential in any first aid kit. You don’t want a cut or wound to get infected, so antiseptic wipes are perfect for cleansing the wound before applying a dressing. You don’t need a family-sized pack though, they are easy to buy at any pharmacy.
- Tiger balm
Lucky for us Southeast Asians, we have this jar of miracle our mothers and grandmothers always bring along when we travel. Whatever you do, wherever you go, always bring a small jar of Tiger balm with you. Not only will this bring back your childhood memories when homesickness hits, the multi-purpose balm has been known to soothe aches, pain and wherever it hurts. Hey, if our grandmothers believe in it, so do we.
Tip: Looking for a pharmacy? More locals will understand you better if you use the word “apotek” instead. Countries around the world often have pharmacies with a sign that says “apotek” or some variation of the Greek apothēkē, root of the word “apothecary.”
Get travel insurance
Obviously, this list can be tailored depending on your trip as well as individual medical conditions. However, the items above cover basic illness and accidents. It’s also important to note that when carrying any generic medication, it’s essential to keep it in its original packaging in case custom officials need to verify its content. If you’ve never taken any of the above medications before, do check with your doctor as you may have a medical condition or allergy that general prescriptions could not cover.