Tips for Healthy Traveling
Good health during travel is the most important factor that makes your vacation successful. However, unfortunately, it is often the last on the list of priorities when one prepares for a holiday. Here are some tips to safeguard one’s health during travel, be it for business or for pleasure.
How does one plan a healthy trip?
A visit to a doctor is mandatory for the elderly when travel is contemplated, especially abroad. The consultation should dwell upon time of the year, duration of stay and area of visit; activities planned (water sports, hiking etc,) and place of stay (hotels, camps etc,).
Advice regarding travel vaccines (including rabies, typhoid and hepatitis A & B and prophylactic medicines against certain infections (like malaria) should be sought for when visiting south East Asia of Africa. At present, Yellow Fever vaccine is legally required for visiting certain parts of Africa and South America.
Meningococcal vaccine is mandatory for Haj Pilgrims. Always look up on approved clinics and mode of emergency treatment on the net at the place of visit. DO NOT FORGET to take a travel insurance that provides an adequate cover. Medical care, even outpatient visits is prohibitively expensive in most countries.
What all does one need to carry?
Ensure that drinkable water would be available or else take bottle water with you. When traveling with children take some packets of biscuits or fruits such as oranges and bananas. Remember, the watchwords with regard to food and water while traveling is “cook it, peel it, boil it, or forget it”!
What does one do if a passenger close by has a bad cold/cough?
The flu’s SARS and other viral illnesses are transmitted via droplets; they travel up to 6 feet from the persons when they sneeze or cough. The chances of directly inhaling the virus are only within 6 feet of the person. Ensure that you cover your face when they sneeze or cough.
Does a mask help to protect one when traveling during a flu outbreak?
Infections like the flu are generally spread less by direct transfer through the air, but more through droplets that are sneezed or coughed out. When a door knob, telephone or table on which the infected person has either sneezed or coughed is touched, the person touching these surfaces is more likely to transfer the flu to him/herself when touching their own face or mouth. Keeping one’s hands clean with the use of alcohol gels/ hand sanitizers is an important method of protection from these infections. The usage of masks can actually be detriment as it gives one a false sense of security.
What to do if one develops diarrhea?
Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. A spoon of sugar with a pinch of salt in a litre of water is a quick-fix when rehydration solutions are not available. Antibiotics are rarely necessary. Anti-diarrhoeal agents help relive the distress.
What are the symptoms that need immediate attention during travel?
Profuse persisting diarrhoea, persistent vomiting which precludes optimal intake of fluids, high fever, diffuse skin rash, chest discomfort with palpitation or sweating, and breathing difficulty mandate a visit to the doctor.
Some Important Tips to Stay Healthy
Always carry a first aid kit whenever you travel. It should contain
- Paracetamol for fever and pain relief
- Pain relievers
- Anti-vomiting tables
- Anti-histamines for cold/itching/allergies
Tips for Healthy Traveling
- Learn about the health risks in your destination and get appropriate vaccinations.
- Find out if you can drink the tap water.
- Have a medical checkup before departure.
- Know how to find a doctor and a good hospital in your destination. Seek medical advice immediately, in case you get fever.
- Carry enough of all your usual medicines to last your entire trip. Ask your doctor whether you should change your dosages if you’re eating and sleeping times change at your destination.
- Drink more water while flying.
- You can exercise even while sitting, by flexing your arms or doing easy exercise, during long distance journeys.
- Take a short walk every now and then (inside the cabin, of course). if you are in a long distance flight.
- To minimize jet lag, get plenty of sleep before you leave. Avoid overeating, and do not drink a lot of alcohol. Light exercise also helps.
- Go along with the local meal and bedtime schedule, if you are flying to a new time zone.
- Wash your hands before eating. This is especially important in the season of flu.
- Practice safe sex. You can use condoms or opt for the best preventive method abstinence.