Sick of Getting Sick from Traveling?

Don’t waste vacation time and travel dollars under the weather.

Traveling can be exciting, exposing you to different people, languages, food and much more. Unfortunately, traveling can also expose you to different bacteria and viruses. Avoid returning home with unwelcome souvenirs using these stay-healthy tips:

Uncommon infections

Traveling overseas and to remote areas can expose you to foreign infections. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website ( for the most recent risk factors, which you can search for by region. Allow plenty of time to receive any necessary vaccines or to begin medication. For instance, vaccination for hepatitis A requires more than one dose, with six to 18 months between each dose.

Seasonal illnesses

Flu and cold-like symptoms always seem to be floating in the air. To help prevent the most common infections, you should practice the most common hygiene habits:

–          Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly (between fingers and under nails).

–          Use hand lotion to stay moisturized (bacteria can wiggle its way into the crevasses of skin).

–          Brush your teeth at least twice daily.

–          Drink plenty of (clean) water to stay hydrated.

–          Get sufficient sleep for natural energy.

Food allergies

Read up on the ingredients of dishes you may encounter on your trip. If you don’t know conch is a type of shellfish and you’ve got a shellfish allergy, your escape to the Bahamas could be ruined in one bite. It also pays to learn the language or regional dialect, so you know how to communicate your allergy to your server when ordering food.

Digestive woes

Jet lag, culture shock and general anxiety can send your stomach into orbit. Traveling throws off your internal clock, partly due to eating at inconsistent times of day. Be especially cautious of spicy, creamy or cloudy food and drink. These could be signs of contamination and/or triggers for indigestion. Also beware of undercooked meats, recent recalls and local label warnings. (Tip: if you’re advised not to drink the tap water, use bottled water to brush your teeth and order your drinks without ice.)

You don’t have to fly over oceans to be at risk for illness. Even a domestic ski trip can cause elevation sickness. Your best plan of attack is to practice healthy habits – regular exercise, balanced diet and good sleep – to keep your immune system strong for the journey ahead.

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By: +Elizabeth Lotts writer for