When you’re looking forward to travelling for pleasure or you have an impending business trip, the last thing you want is to get sick. Nevertheless, that can surely happen even when you’re careful! Sometimes, it seems to occur when sharing a taxi, a flight or a hotel room. Other times, it was brewing in the days leading up to embarking on a trip and there was really no stopping it.
Here are a few suggestions for how to avoid getting sick before you leave, and handling it should you get sick when you’re on the move.
Get Vaccinated Before Heading Out
If you’ve not left yet and you’re visiting a country or region with some risk factors, then don't let an illness ruin your trip. Getting vaccinated is worthwhile to avoid picking up something that will seriously impact your enjoyment or, if you’re on a business trip, prevent you from attending meetings. Consult with a doctor at a clinic to see what vaccinations make sense and when they should be administered before travelling.
Motion Sickness Prevention
If you’re travelling by road (or expect to do so), then it might be a good idea to pack some over-the-counter medication. Depending on the motion sickness medication, this is usually taken an hour or longer before embarking.
Monitor whether air sickness is a problem for you or if motion sickness is strictly a road issue for you. Even if you’re expecting bumpy road conditions, even taking an Uber from the airport can cause motion sickness if you’re especially susceptible to it.
Packing a medication like Dramamine isn’t a bad idea. If you’re going abroad, then it’s often possible to pick up something similar at a local pharmacy.
Taking Care of Your Allergies
When it comes to allergies, these can often flare up unexpectedly. Coming into contact with different air quality and moving through environments with various levels of dust or other air contaminants can play havoc with your internal system.
Itchy skin is often the result due to contaminants, or even an insect bite. You may come out in hives too. In which case, taking a common antihistamine like Benadryl can settle your body down again.
There are a number of generic alternatives (look for the active ingredient diphenhydramine) to see what’s available locally if you forget to bring some you.
Cough, Cold or Worse
Picking up the common cold is not unusual when travelling to a different state or out of the county. The change of common environment combined with being among other people can easily do it.
Depending on your level of required activity, it’s possible to take some cold/flu medication and hunker down. The cold or flu medication usually only contains some pain relief and sometimes help you sleep. However, they don’t do anything for the main symptoms.
The main thing is to not overly exert yourself, so your body can fight off the cold virus. Wrap up, stay indoors if you can, and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid cold or windy environments where you might give your body the chills which could leave to developing the flu or even a chest infection.
Watch Your Food & Drink
Getting food poisoning is quite common while travelling. There’s not much you can do about it before you leave. While away though, be mindful of the food and drink choices that you make.
A good general rule is to eat food that’s been prepared fresh and hasn’t been sitting there for a while. Food cleanliness is something to watch for, so see how food is being prepared when that’s possible. When abroad, if the place is bustling with local customers, it’s more likely to be safe to eat there than not.
With drinks, use a straw that’s wrapped and not handed to you. Avoid drinks with local ice added. Aim for bottled drinks, where possible, to avoid the risk of contamination.
If you do get food poisoning, eat and drink more simply. When further travel is imminent, consider getting Imodium or similar which blocks up the system to prevent diarrhea while on the road. However, when you can stay in one location, get a broad-spectrum antibiotic containing Amoxicillin which is sold generically in many countries.
Hopefully your trip will go well without any difficulties. As covered above, there are some preventative measures that can be taken before embarking. However, if you get sick on your travels, a visit to a local pharmacy (or a doctor’s appointment, when appropriate) is often the solution.