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Travel Health Tips

Nothing can ruin a vacation more than getting sick. Take the appropriate steps to prevent illness and enjoy your vacation with optimal health. Research your location, bring medicine incase of problems and be aware of what traveling can do to your body, especially if you are not a seasonal traveler.

Basic Travel Health

  • Eat a balanced diet from all the food groups.
  • Try to get a variety of nutrients.
  • Take a multivitamin to make up for the loss of any nutrients.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent heat exhaustion or dehydration, especially if vacationing in a hot climate.
  • Pack medicine and supplies in case of sickness or injury.
  • Refer to the list below and bring medicine that you may not normally need, like anti-diarrhea pills. If you are accustomed to certain medicines, it is better to bring those and take them as soon as the problem arises rather than trying to hunt down similar medicines when feeling badly.

Jet Lag

Trying to adjust to a new destination, especially if it crosses many time zones, can be very difficult. This is usually referred to as jet lag and can take on numerous symptoms.Regulating your body’s cycle as quickly as possible to your new destination will reduce jet lag. It can actually be easier to adjust when traveling west than when traveling east, because you are lengthening your day and not shortening it. Caffeine, alcohol and sleeping pills can cause jet lag to get worse, so if jet lag is a big problem for you, stay away from these substances at least while your body regulates itself.

To help adjust more rapidly:

  • Drink a lot of water; before, during and after your flight.
  • Try to eat and sleep at your destination’s normal times.
  • Minimize alcohol intake on the airplane or drink a lot of water at the same time to stay hydrated.
  • Try to expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible during the day for the first few days of arrival.
  • Take Melatonin in the evening – between 2-5mg depending on your body weight. Start this on the first day you arrive.

Vaccines/Immunizations

Schedule a visit with your doctor 3 months before your vacation to determine what medicine, shots or vaccinations would be useful to you while on your trip. Make sure your regular vaccinations are up-to-date. Make sure you know what kind of activities and environment you will be staying in before you speak to your doctor so that a good diagnosis can be determined. Determine with your doctor if certain required or recommended vaccinations would be beneficial. If you have trouble with traveling or eating in foreign destinations, find out if any prescriptions would be useful.

Traveler's Stomach Sickness

Getting an upset stomach is common while traveling. The more severe form of stomach sickness is often known as traveler’s diarrhea and occurs in more than 30% of travelers. Certain locations and resorts do not have safe water or food. Find out what kinds of warnings are in effect for drinking water at you destination at the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. A good resort should have a filtration system for all the water they use, unless their local water supply is safe. If in doubt or outside of your resort, please take heed. Traveler’s diarrhea can last a week or more, which could be your entire vacation.

Stomach Sickness Prevention:

  • Drink bottled water from a known brand and make sure the bottle has its safety seal intact. Some vendors are known to refill bottles with tap water.
  • Don’t eat fruit unless you peel it.
  • Don’t eat raw vegetables, fish or meat. Make sure all food is cooked to kill off the bacteria and is served hot.
  • Don’t drink the water, fruit juice, milk or ice.
  • Stay away from shellfish, even steamed, unless the establishment looks very reputable.
  • Clean your teeth with purified water.
  • Bring either a water filtration device or tablets with chlorine or iodine. If you need to purify your water: Boil water for at least 5 minutes.

Female Health

Fungal vaginal infections are common when traveling in warm climates. Taking antibiotics or birth control pills, wearing synthetic underwear, or sweating excessively can increase chances for a vaginal infection. If you are prone to infections, bring medicine with you. To prevent infection, wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing and be sure to clean regularly. Vinegar and yogurt can be used as a treatment, as well as vaginal creams.



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