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Tips for a Healthy Vacation

By Aarti Patel Email By Aarti Patel
June 2010
Tips for a Healthy Vacation

While exotic destinations, exciting excursions, and turquoise beaches may all be on your summer vacation agenda, being sick or injured while on a holiday is probably the farthest thing from your mind. If you are like most travelers, you’re probably giving more thought to what you are going to pack and which bathing suit to take with you than thinking about how to stay healthy during your vacation. Many travelers get sick or injured each year while traveling and many of these sickness and injuries are often those that can be prevented. Here are ways to stay healthy during your vacation:

Immunizations: Just because you’re healthy now it doesn’t mean that you and your children will remain healthy during your vacation. Immunizations are a must to avoid certain diseases when traveling to remote and Third World destinations. Check the CDC Web site link http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/vaccinations.aspx to find out which vaccinations are necessary for your travel destination.

Insect/bug precaution: Avoid insect-borne diseases by making sure that you don’t get bitten! Wear light-colored clothing, avoid sheltered, dark, shady spots, and use a mosquito net at night along with burning mosquito-repellent coils or candles. Make sure your mosquito repellent has the right percentage of DEET for the number of hours you want to be protected. If using a repellent and sunscreen together; apply the repellent first and then the sunscreen.

Travel medications: Don’t always assume that you will be able to obtain over–the-counter medications readily overseas. Medications in a foreign country are often difficult and expensive to purchase. Always take a first-aid travel kit with you and other basic over-the-counter meds. Some good choices are anti bacterial and anti diarrheal medications, antihistamines, remedies for motion sickness, and pain and fever medication (children’s dose also if traveling with children). Bring enough prescription meds and pack it in two different locations so that you always have some.

Travel medical insurance: You never think holiday disasters could happen, but the reality is that they do happen and the next victim could be you. Look into purchasing a travel medical insurance policy that covers emergency medical situations and medical evacuation expenses. From car accidents to swimming pool disasters, falls, and illnesses, there are a number of mishaps that could happen, so be prepared.

Food and beverage caution: “All-inclusive” and “all-you-can-eat/drink” doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself to get your money’s worth. Too much food and dessert is hard for your body to digest, so stay close to what your eating habits are at home. Alcohol impairs judgment, so instead of turning down the local street corner cuisine, you may be tempted to try it, thus increasing your chances of getting sick. Stay well-hydrated and eat and drink sensibly, to avoid gastrointestinal health issues. And yes, remember to wash or sanitize your hands before each meal!

Safe excursions:  There have been many instances of people getting lost, injured, and even killed during excursions on and off land. Always go with a well-reputed, well-known company—one which is recommended by your hotel when it comes to excursions. Make sure your hotel knows your location and time of return. Always carry a cell phone and your first-aid kit with medications with you during all excursions. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks in case if you get stranded or delayed.

If traveling on a cruise liner, check out the following link from the CDC, which provides inspection scores for each cruise liner: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionSearch.aspx.

With some thoughtfulness and advanced planning, you can have a safe and healthy vacation—one with lots of adventure, fun and great memories!

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