Staying Healthy During Travel: Tips from a Family Doctor & Avid Traveler

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning a onceinalifetime vacation, staying healthy during your journeys is crucial. As a family doctor and travel enthusiast, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge on how to stay in good health while exploring the world. Here are my top tips for staying healthy during your travels.

health safety

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, staying healthy during your journeys is crucial. As a family doctor and travel enthusiast, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge on how to stay in good health while exploring the world. Here are my top tips for staying healthy during your travels.

Before You Go

Vaccinations and Medical Checkups

  1. Consult with your doctor well in advance of your trip to discuss any vaccinations or medications you might need.

  2. Update your vaccinations including routine vaccinations like measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and the seasonal flu vaccine.

  3. Check destination-specific requirements for vaccinations and medications, such as yellow fever or malaria prophylaxis.

Travel Health Insurance

  1. Purchase a comprehensive travel health insurance plan that covers medical emergencies, hospitalization, and evacuation.

  2. Carry your insurance information with you at all times, and share this information with your travel companions.

On The Go

Food and Water Safety

  1. Be cautious with street food and only eat at reputable establishments.

  2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, but make sure it’s from a safe source. Opt for bottled water, boiled water, or water treated with purification tablets.

Preventing Insect-Borne Illnesses

  1. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535.

  2. Wear protective clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to minimize skin exposure.

  3. Sleep under a mosquito net in areas where malaria or other mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent.

Jet Lag

  1. Gradually adjust your sleep schedule before departure to minimize the effects of jet lag.

  2. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol during your flight.

  3. Get exposure to natural light upon arrival at your destination to help reset your internal clock.

Sun Protection

  1. Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, reapplying every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

  2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun.

Preventing Motion Sickness

  1. Choose strategic seating on planes, trains, or buses. Opt for a seat over the wings on an airplane, or in the front of a bus or train.

  2. Focus on the horizon or a distant point when experiencing motion sickness.

  3. Avoid heavy meals before and during your journey, and consider over-the-counter motion sickness medications or ginger supplements.

In Case of Illness

Seeking Medical Care Abroad

  1. Contact your travel health insurance provider for guidance on finding quality medical care in your destination country.

  2. Visit reputable health care facilities and seek care from qualified medical professionals.

Returning Home

  1. Monitor your health for several weeks after your trip, as some illnesses may not present symptoms immediately.

  2. See a doctor if you experience any persistent or severe symptoms, making sure to mention your recent travels.

By following these tips and staying proactive about your health, you can enjoy your travels with peace of mind. Bon voyage!

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