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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling?

News February 25, 2019 | CanadaOnlineHealth

Vacation planning can be a lot of fun! You’re deciding where you are going to stay, what sights you want to see, where you will eat and who you will see – but do you include plans to maintain your health at the same time?   Whether you’re planning a short get away out of town, an overnight business trip or an extended adventure, making your health part of your travel planning checklist will make your trip more enjoyable and safer.

Make a Plan for your Prescription Medications

First and foremost, remember your prescription and over-the-counter medications.

  • Talk to your pharmacist and doctor about your medication needs.
  • Take your prescription medication with you in its original container.
  • Do not combine medications into one container or pill box.
  • Take a little extra medication along in case of flight delays or other unexpected events that may prolong your stay.
  • Carry a copy of your original prescription and ensure that both the generic and trade names of the medications are included in case of loss or theft.
  • Carry a doctor’s note describing why you are taking the medication.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medication. It’s easy to lose track of time while traveling and having fun, but you always want to make sure you are taking your medication on time every day.

Plan for Sleep and Rest

It goes without saying that traveling to different time zones can play havoc with your body clock. The clock may say it’s only 7:00 pm but your body is saying “It’s 10:00 pm back home and I want to go to sleep!”   Take some time to allow yourself to get used to new time zones for the first day or two when you arrive at your destination.  You’ll need that energy for your sightseeing in the following days!

When you’re in a new city there is a temptation to run out and do and see everything at once. Slow down! Schedule in time  for a break, a chance to sit down or even a little time  to nap.  Over exertion can lead to exhaustion, and that alone can make you unwell.  We promise you, the Eiffel Tower will still be there even  if you stop to rest  before seeing it.

Beware of Malaria

The highest risk of Malaria comes from countries that are in the sub-Saharan African regions. However, traveling to any country where malaria is reported is still risky.  Something as simple as a mosquito bite while traveling in a country that is reported to have Malaria may be enough to put you at risk.  Read our article aboutWhat You Need to Know About Malaria Prevention and Treatment Before You Travel.”

Plan Ahead for Exercise

Walking around a new city is great, but it can be  very challenging if you’re not used to it.   In the weeks leading up to your trip be sure to start some routine exercises, especially if you haven’t been active for a while.  Stretching, moving your arms and legs, gently going up and down stairs, even stretching before and after bed and naps will prepare you for your trip.  Of course, you should speak to your doctor before starting any kind of exercise routine.

When choosing your hotel, you may even want to ask if the hotel has a gym or other exercise facilities, such as a pool.  Why not take advantage of the amenities and start your day with an invigorating workout?

Once on your trip, consider taking a walk every day.  This is especially important if you are traveling long distances by air or by car.

Plan to Eat Healthily

Of course, an exciting part of every trip is unique and delicious food.  A lot of people love eating adventures, trying the local cuisine, new foods, and having the luxury of not cooking at home.  However, this change in eating habits can unfortunately, cause problems with your health if you are not careful.

Try starting your day with a  light and healthy breakfast.  Most diners and cafes have oatmeal, multigrain toast, fruit, and other simple fares.  Many will let you substitute the greasy high-carb hash browns on your plate for fresh tomato slices.   For lunch and dinner try to include a healthy variety of vegetables, such as a fresh, crisp, garden salad.  If you eat meat, choose lean meats, and avoid or limit heavy sauces and gravies.

If you do not have access to healthier foods on your trip, consider asking your hotel for a room with a small refrigerator.  You can stock your fridge with fruits and vegetables, take-away salads, and even  low-fat milk or milk alternative that can be used  in  instant oatmeal or cereal you prepare in your room.

Stay Hydrated

It’s far too easy to spend the day traveling or sightseeing and not drink enough water.  Consider carrying a bottle of water with you in your day pack and refilling it often.  If you are concerned about how many trips to the washroom this may cause, think about the health benefits of being well hydrated, rather than the inconvenience of a washroom break.

Wash Your Hands and use Hand Sanitizer

When traveling you will come  in contact with a huge number of people, doors, and other things that  may be contaminated with germs, viruses and bacteria.  This exposure can lead to  catching a flu, cold or other illness.  Be sure to clean your hands thoroughly throughout the day, especially before or after eating.  If you do not have access to soap and water, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your day pack and use it often.

Protect Your Skin

If you are heading off to a sunny destination be sure to protect your skin with a good sunscreen.  Even if you are not headed to the beach, it is a good idea to wear sunscreen  when simply walking around on a sunny day.

Time away is something we all look forward to.  With these simple tips you will be well on your way to having a safer and healthier trip.  For even more travel tips, visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website

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