Friday, March 25, 2016
Tips to stay healthy on vacation this summer
Summer is fast approaching and you know what that means. More traveling. Family reunions, summer camps, business seminars and family vacations will take many of us from the comfort and familiarity of our own homes to some fun, but foreign, places. While travel can be fun, it’s a change and change can be stressful. Stress can lower your immune system and offer cold and flu bugs the opportunity for growth. Have you ever been sick on vacation? It isn’t fun.
What can you do to prevent illness from ruining your trip?
1. Plan ahead. Try to keep your mealtimes and menu as regular as possible. This is easier if you are driving because you can take your food with you. Plan for healthy snacks such as dried fruits and nuts rather than giant bags of chips and prepackaged cookies. If you are flying, take small snacks in your carryon. Pack something with protein and a little friendly fiber to keep you full until you can find an affordable healthy meal.
2. Hydrate. It can be tempting to avoid rest stops and public restrooms by cutting back on your fluids, but the tradeoffs can lead to fatigue, headaches and sluggishness. Obtain a water bottle that is easy to find and carry. One that attaches to your bag or belt is recommended. If you are traveling by air, take an empty water bottle through security and fill it in a drinking fountain before boarding your plane.
3. Exercise. That’s right. You are on vacation – not dead. Take an opportunity to explore the beach or mountain trails on foot. Rent a bike and cruise along the local green belt. Go for a swim and work out the kinks you earned in that cramped airplane seat. Visit the workout room in your hotel. Everybody is on vacation – chances are you will have the treadmills and rowing machines all to yourself!
4. Sleep. Attempt to keep regular sleeping patterns. This can be challenging if you change time zones. While it’s tempting to spend late nights catching up with cousins at the family reunion, too many late nights can lead to fatigue, cause stress and set you up as a target for cold and flu bugs. Have fun but be wise and don’t let too much fun derail your wellness plans.
5. Maintain hygiene. Yes, it’s elementary, but it’s true. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid illness. Can’t wash? Hand sanitizer is the next best thing and the bottles are small enough to pass airport security. Make it a habit of washing at every opportunity just to be safe.
What if you are injured or become ill while away from home?
1. Plan ahead. Know what health care options are available in the area you are planning to visit. If you are traveling out of the country, check with your insurance carrier before you go. You’ll want to know how it covers and how to get reimbursed. Take along a personal first aid kit so you have the essentials. It should include hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, bandages, a small ice pack if available, ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen, allergy and cold medicines, as well as any other personal prescriptions. Make certain you have enough prescription meds to last your entire trip.
2. Hydrate and rest. The same practices that can help you avoid illness will help you feel better once you become ill.
3. Maintain hygiene. Once you have become infected you will want to do your best to avoid sharing your illness with others. Remember, the same practices that help you avoid illness will help you avoid sharing it. Wash your hands, use tissue rather than handkerchiefs, and even wear a surgical mask if necessary.
4. Find a physician. If you are staying with family, chances are they will have a family doctor that will be happy to see you. What if you don’t know anyone in the area? How will you find a health care provider with which you can be comfortable? Fortunately, the internet continues to make the world smaller. This new Find a Doctor service by Amino, Inc. will help. You can locate a general practitioner before you go or find a physician quickly once you become ill. It’s fast and easy to use, quickly sorting physicians by experience with your criteria. Give it a try so you will be familiar with it when the need arises.
Don’t let illness steal your summer fun. Be prepared for wellness by taking care of yourself before you travel, preparing to stay healthy along the way, and knowing how to cope with discomforts if and when they arise. If you need help, seek a health care provider so you can be get back to enjoying your travels.
Have a happy vacation, stay healthy, and as always ...