If you’re travelling on holiday, or you’re on a business trip, one way to really spoil the whole experience is by getting ill.
So it makes sense to know some simple precautions you can take to avoid getting ill when travelling. After all, no matter how long you’re away, you don’t want to waste time laying in bed or running for the toilet!
It happens, and the seeds of it are often planted during the trip, especially if you pick up something like a stomach bug. However, there are precautionary steps you can take before, during, and after your time away in order to lessen the chances that you spend your downtime down and out.
So if you’re planning a well earned holiday, or you’re a regular traveller, check our these tips (and our handy infographic at the bottom).
1. Get your vaccines
Not everywhere requires vaccinations or medication, but it’s always worth checking, especially if you’re going somewhere new. Check online, ask your doctor or get hold of a guidebook.
As a general rule, if visiting many Southeast Asian, Central African and South American countries you may need to get some inoculations.
2. Stay rested
If you’re arriving in a new place it can be very tempting to go out and try and experience everything right away. But, this is when you’re defences are at their weakest. Take it easy, give yourself time to adapt and get enough rest.
In fact, in one study, researchers tracked the sleep of travellers with Fitbit-style devices and sleep diaries for one week and then exposed them to a cold virus. Those who slept five to six hours a night were four times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept more.
Try and expose yourself to daylight as often as possible to help your body adjust to the local circadian rhythm. Try and get plenty of exercise too, even if that is just walking around sightseeing.
3. Stay hydrated
It’s a fact that most people don’t drink enough water, and when travelling it can be easy to let this one slide. Flying is especially dehydrating, and without adequate hydration we can fall prey to all sorts of nasties, from colds to stomach bugs to heat exhaustion. Get a bottle and stay hydrated to avoid falling ill when travelling!
4. Personal hygiene
Yes, having a shower is a good idea. But what we mean here is keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands before eating, and after too… Use hand sterlizer if you need. Antibacterial wipes are OK, but we recommend avoiding using disposables. Soap and water is always best!
5. Stay active
As we mentioned earlier, exercise can be a great way to keep any travel bugs away. Do some stretches on the plane and when you arrive at your hotel to avoid problems such as DVT or blood clots. Interesting fact: people who exercise regularly get around 15% less illnesses such as colds and flu than those who don’t. Stay on your toes when you’re travelling (and any time in fact).
A handy guide to avoiding falling ill when travelling
This handy visual guide is sums up all our key points about how to avoid getting sick when travelling. We hope it helps you stay fit and well when you’re next venturing somewhere new.