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Published On: Fri, Aug 17th, 2018

How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

Whether it be on your own, with loved ones or in a group of close friends, heading away on vacation ought to be a purely pleasurable and joyous occasion from the moment you hit the check-in desk until the moment you touch down on your return. Sadly, for too many travelers, illness hits on holiday, ruining part (and sometimes all) of your expensive and long-awaited vacation. Its a disaster and one thats often avoidable. Here are some tips to stave off ill health while youre exploring foreign lands.

photo/ engin akyurt

Hygiene

Number one on the list is hygiene, and itll get you far when youre traveling, whether you’re in Western Europe or southern India. The level of hygiene you practice while at home will not be adequate while youre on vacation. When youre in a new country, youre completely surrounded by germs and antibodies that your body is not used to, that your body has not been exposed to before. These are the germs that are likely to make you ill, where you would already possess the antibodies for comparable germs in your home country.

In order to avoid these harmful germs and bacteria getting into your system, youll need to keep excellent personal hygiene while youre abroad, washing your hands regularly and making sure you‘re sensible when to comes to where you rest your hands and what you touch. A smart addition to your day bag on a trip are wet wipes and a bottle of alcoholic anti-bacteria hand gel. Both will keep you from touching your face with a hand thats covered in germs and bacteria.

Food Avoidance

When youre abroad, there are certain food and drink types that are more likely to make you ill than others. It varies from place to place, of course, and you may, therefore, want to do some research as to the range and likelihood of illnesses in the country youre visiting. However, there are some constants to observe: dont drink tap water. Instead, buy bottled water thats purified and guaranteed not to contain impurities that cause illness. Remember too that ice in forgiven countries is also made from tap water, so avoid it in your drinks.

On the long list of avoidable foods, be wary of salads and other fresh food that might have been washed in tap water and left out for some time for flies to land on. Meat should be well cooked before you purchase it and, in general, dont buy canteen or street food thats clearly been lying in wait for some hours without being adequately heated. Be astute with what you choose to eat from restaurant menus. Choose dishes unlikely to contain food thatll make you ill, and you should avoid the unpleasantness of food poisoning while away on holiday.

Heat & Sun

Youre going away on vacation to get a nice week or two of sun and sand, heat and relaxation. However, heat stroke and sunstroke are common for families on holiday spending plenty of time under the suns rays. As such, you should take the proper protective measures to ensure you and your loved ones are well-equipped to protect themselves from the harmful effects of overexposure to sun and heat.

Apply plenty of sunscreen at regular intervals, ensure everyone is well hydrated, with eye protection from UV rays, and perhaps head protecting through a wide-brimmed hat thatll shade one of the more important areas to keep cooler. A dip in the sea or a swimming pool can be refreshingly cooling, bringing down your core temperature which, if high, can cause illness. However, be aware that the cooling effects of swimming or paddling in water can mask the fact that youre becoming over-exposed to strong heat and sunshine. Take breaks in the shade, and drink plenty of fluids, and you should be absolutely fine.

Medication

To stave off some of the worst results of illness, be that a disturbed belly or a throbbing headache, its wise to pack a full and comprehensive first-aid kit with you on vacation, especially concerning the medication that can mitigate against (or even prevent) illness. Make sure you get the appropriate vaccinations before you fly and that youve bought the requisite anti-malarial tablets if youre going to a country with infected mosquitos.

Other smart medication to take to foreign lands includes this anti-sickness or anti-stomach upset tablets, available online such as Domperidone Canada, which is there to take away the worst of the sickness one can suffer through motion or infection. Painkillers are ever useful for headaches and other aches and pains, while a moisturizing gel or balm is incredibly welcome on burnt or damaged skin. For any broken skin, the application of either salt or a disinfectant such as alcohol is recommended to remove the possibility of the wound becoming infected while youre on vacation.

Precautions

While your health abroad revolves mostly around what you eat and how you keep yourself away from the harmful effects of bad food and intense sunlight, theres also an element of personal safety to bear in mind while youre away. The risk of personal assault remains low in most countries around the world, but that isnt to say that, as a tourist, you might not present an easy target for those with sinister intentions. It pays to be wary of the risks so you can relax instead of checking over your shoulder every few minutes.

First and foremost, in large cities, theres likely numerous districts and neighborhoods you shouldnt stray into alone or with a group of tourists. In Rio de Janeiro, for instance, its unwise to explore the poorer shanty towns that surround the city center, as these are infamous for crime. In global cities like Paris, New York, and London, the same can be said of impoverished areas in which gangs are operating. Stay close to the tourist centers to avoid finding yourself in uncomfortable positions. You should also do your best to take care of your valuables, hiding them where possible to deter would-be thieves from attempting to rob you.

Exercise

Being on holiday is no excuse to drop your fitness regime for a couple of weeks! Indeed, exercising in a new place can be an excellent way of learning about a culture, and making unique connections with locals. One set of clothes for exercising wont take up too much space in your luggage, but will enable you to take early morning runs in new cities, discovering places to explore with your family or friends later that day. Join outdoors yoga classes run for locals, or swimming sessions in outdoor swimming pools, or in the sea, to meet new people and learn more about the destination youre visiting.

As well as the sort of physical exercise that you might regularly do at home to improve your fitness, taking long walks in new towns and cities, instead of driving, taking a cab, or using public transport, will help you improve your physical fitness at the same time as you discover the secrets of the streets you roam. Armed with a map and enough food and drink to sustain your ramble through new and exotic surrounds, always elect to walk when you can and when its safe. Youll find hidden treasures that simply blur past when you take to the roads for your transportation.

Research

There are simply too many destinations in the world to provide a comprehensive list of ways to stay healthy on your particular vacation, which is why this last tip simply suggests you do your research as to what to expect and what other tourists find has made them ill in their trips. Youll be able to look on established sites such as the Lonely Planet guidebook company, or else on individual blogs that in some detail will run through common illnesses and health problems experienced in the country to which youll soon be flying.

An extra level of information in these guides thats also extremely worthwhile to research is the level of security and safety you and your loved ones will be able to expect while on your holiday. There may be some specific cultural customs to observe to remain safe, or otherwise some warning as to popular scams, dodgy businesses, or even whole cities that are best avoided while on your trip. Keeping healthy also means keeping safe. So, be beware of the dangers of your destination, and take extra care if the destination youre visiting is less liberal, when it comes to race, religion, and sexuality, than your home country.

A vacation is meant to be a delightful break from the humdrum of everyday life, which is why these tips are designed to keep you healthy, happy and thrilled for the duration of your time abroad. With the right blend of research, diligence and street-wise sensibilities, youll be doing the utmost to avoid any negative health impacts that you might be at higher risk of when traveling abroad, ensuring you create long-lasting memories that dont involve and nastiness, illness or confrontation.

Author: Carol Trehearn

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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