Health & Medicine

Five ways to stay healthy while traveling this year

Whether you’re at home or traveling, washing your hands is the best way to stay germ-free.
Whether you’re at home or traveling, washing your hands is the best way to stay germ-free. TNS

You’ve waited a long time for your trip, so the last thing you want is to get sick.

Unfortunately, it can happen, throwing a wrench in your plans or even sidelining you for a few days (or weeks). You can catch a cold, flu or virus anywhere. You can eat something that wasn’t prepared properly.

It’s important to be prepared so you can do what you set out to do: enjoy your trip.

Start before you go

Staying healthy while traveling starts way before you get to your destination.

Everyone (including children) should be up to date on the usual childhood vaccinations before embarking on international travel. You should check your immunization status when it comes to tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis, rubella and mumps. Older adults should have the flu and pneumonia vaccinations.

Also, make sure your medical insurance is up to date and covers you if leave the country and then have an emergency.

Tame the tummy bug

When cruise ship passengers get queasy, it’s most likely seasickness. But when hundreds of passengers get sick, it’s time to worry.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests doing your homework before booking a cruise. Check out the CDC’s website to make sure your ship meets sanitation standards. It doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be an outbreak, but it definitely reduces your risk.

Wash your hands

It’s the No. 1 way to prevent the transmission of germs.

Cut the clots

Using a long flight to get off your feet and catch up on some sleep might seem like a good idea, but depending on your health and the length of your ride, this kind of inactivity can ultimately lead to a serious health problem called deep-vein thrombosis. It’s not something you should ignore.

DVT is inflammation and the development of a blood clot in a deep vein, bringing symptoms of pain, warmth and swelling in the calf, plus pain while flexing the muscle. If you develop these symptoms, seek help immediately, especially if you have shortness of breath.

To prevent DVT, take walks before and during your flight, stretch during the flight, don’t cross your legs, wear loose-fitting clothes and drink lots of water.

Watch what you eat

Order your meals from reputable places.

A particular well-known ailment is traveler’s diarrhea (also known as Montezuma’s revenge and Tut’s tummy). Traveler’s diarrhea is defined as three or more stools in 24 hours.

According to the Mayo Clinic, high-risk destinations for traveler’s diarrhea include underdeveloped countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Avoid salads, uncooked vegetables and unpasteurized milk. Order only food that has been cooked and is still hot. Eat only fruit that has been peeled by you. Don’t eat undercooked or raw meat, fish or shellfish.

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