How to Avoid Getting Sick on Vacation

By Briana Seftel

We’ve all been there. You’ve landed in your destination, dropped your bags, eaten your first meal and feel sick. Trust us, no one wants to be sick on vacation. So what can you do to stay healthy?

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Drink bottled water

Be safe rather than sorry and stick to bottled water on your travels. Even though you may see locals drinking tap water, your stomach may not have the same bacteria to prevent you from becoming ill. It’s not just the water you drink: the same goes for ice, fruits or fresh juices. If you’re not keen on buying bottle after bottle, purchase a reusable bottle with a built-in filter or a purifying pen, which saves money and the environment!

Take any necessary medications

If you’re planning a trip to Africa, Asia or South America, you might want to do some research beforehand and take any necessary medications or vaccines. Check with your doctor before your trip to see if you need any vaccines, and bring a few medications like Tylenol and Imodium with you just in case. It’s always better to be prepared, not to mention pharmacies in other countries can be confusing.

Protect yourself against the sun

A bad sunburn can really put a damper on your vacation, so protect your skin from the sun! Bring a tube of at least 30 SPF and lather up before enjoying a day out. If you’ll be in water, remember to reapply. Not only can you get a painful sunburn, but you can also run the risk of getting dehydrated which can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. So in addition to sunscreen, stay hydrated, wear a sun hat and get some shade throughout the day.

Keep bug bites away

While being bitten by the travel bug is a good thing, a mosquito bite is not! Not only are bug bites painful and gross, they can also lead to serious health issues like malaria. If you’re traveling to a country where you know there will be little critters waiting to suck your blood, bring insect repellent. You can either opt for store-bought (be careful to avoid anything with DEET, which is known to cause irritation) or a natural homemade concoction. Like sunscreen, apply liberally throughout the day. You might also want to make sure where you’re sleeping has a mosquito net over the bed.

Get your sleep

Okay, we know this may seem too obvious, but getting enough sleep on vacation is crucial! Lack of sleep causes grumpiness, anxiety, forgetfulness...the list goes on. We’re not saying you have to be in bed at 8pm sharp every night, but keeping your regular sleeping routine will make your travels all that much better. If you’re traveling to a country with a big time difference, try and match your sleep pattern to theirs. Even if that means two cups of coffee to stay awake, you’ll thank yourself later.

Have a positive attitude

We all know stress can lead to feeling sick, so take it easy on your next trip. Instead of going straight from your hotel to a museum, ease into your new destination with a leisurely stroll and a relaxing dinner. The less stressed out you are, the better you will feel. Travel isn’t perfect, so don’t get hung up if something goes wrong - it’ll make a great story to tell your friends and family when you get back!

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