Want To Stay Healthy On Vacation? Follow These Tips

Monday, November 4, 2013

Don't let a virus ruin your dream vacation!

Showing up to formal party under dressed, accidentally calling your new boss by the wrong name, or sending a private e-mail to your entire office.  We all have experienced plenty of unpleasant and cringe worthy moments, but there’s one scenario that fills people with dread: getting sick when they’re on vacation.  Is there anything worse than spending months planning a vacation, then immediately coming down with something as soon as you arrive?  In a perfect world getting sick on vacation would be impossible, but unfortunately we don’t live in one.  There isn’t some way for you to ensure that you’ll stay healthy when you’re at your Tuscany villa rental or beach bungalow in the Caribbean, but there are some things you can do to lessen your chances of coming down with something nasty.

Do some research

When you’re traveling to an unfamiliar place you should do whatever you can to learn about it.  If you want to try to stay healthy during your vacation, see what kinds of illnesses and sicknesses are common in the area you’re traveling to.  The World Health Organization is an excellent resource for this kind of information, and they even have a handy guide for travelers that can tell them about certain health risks that are common in their vacation destination.  When you’re doing your research, also be sure to contact your doctor (or find a travel doctor) to see if they recommend any vaccines or booster shots before you leave.

Avoid problem foods and beverages

It seems like everyone has at least one friend who came down with an awful gastro-intestinal disease when they were on vacation.  If you want to avoid getting sick from food and drinks, you need to make sure that you’re eating and drinking the right things.  Avoid tap water in all forms, and that includes water by the glass, ice in drinks, and using the tap when you brush your death.  Amoebas and other parasites may be lurking in local tap water, and even a small amount of infected water can cause nasty problems.  Also avoid consuming raw or undercooked foods, and that includes certain fruits and vegetables.   Avoid fruits like berries and apples, but feel free to eat melons, bananas, citrus fruits, and any fruit that requires peeling. 

Treat your body well

When you’re on vacation it can be tempting to go overboard with food, alcohol, and other substances, but if you want to stay healthy you should keep everything in check.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to try out some new local dishes or to unwind with friends, but doing everything in excess can wear out your body.  Make sure that you get enough sleep when you’re on your vacation, and that you still have nutritious food to eat.  You should also make sure that you have plenty of bottled water available.  Dehydration can cause a litany of health problems, and you know that you need to stay away from local water sources.

Be Prepared

In case you do get sick on your vacation you’ll want to be prepared, and if you want to play it safe you should bring some over the counter medications from home.  It’s almost guaranteed that the local pharmacy won’t have what you’re looking for, so stop by your local drugstore before you head out.  Bring essential medications for colds, the flu, stomach problems, and allergies.  If you take any prescribed medication, ask your doctor for a note in English and a note in the native language of your destination explaining what it’s for.  You don’t want to get caught at customs for your pain medication or your diabetic supplies, and having an official note from your doctor can come in handy in tough spot.  Also be sure to pack a list of your emergency contacts.  List any family members that should be notified if you have any problems, and the number for the local embassy or consulate.

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