Staying healthy while on vacation is essential, please follow these recommendations prior to and during travelling both domestically and internationally.
- All water is not good water. Drinking water from the tap is a normal occurrence, however, in certain countries it may put your health at risk. Ensure to drink bottled water to reduce your risk to bacteria, which could potentially cause havoc to your system.
- Fruits and vegetables are ideal to eat, however, be aware of the harmful pesticides and bacteria that may lie on the surface. Please wash your fresh fruits and vegetables with clean water (bottled water in some locations). If you feel you need extra protection wash your fresh produce with white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, salt, or for things such as apples peel off the skin.
- Avoid raw or under-cooked meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, and street vendors. These things can result from illness and even death due to salmonella, E. coli, listeria, parasites, and other food-borne illnesses. Street vendors may not always have proper storage for food, they may wash food in contaminated water, may not wash their hands, or pass on other communicable diseases.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you just washed your hands.
- Don’t forget sunscreen (yes, everyone needs it!), inhalers, EpiPen, insulin, glasses (as backup if you wear contact lens).
- Drink plenty of bottled water without it your body cannot maintain a normal body temperature, lubricate your joints, sweat, and remove waste from your system. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. If at some point you become ill, drinking plenty of water is recommended. Don’t forget, you may consume liquids through soups and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Take your required medications and other medications you may need on vacation such as: allergy medication, pain reliever, kaopectate, etc.
- Get the suggested immunizations for the country you are visiting. Visit the CDC to obtain a list of the suggested vaccinations to combat illnesses that may be prevalent in the area. These inoculations can help to fight against things like:
- Contaminated food or water
- Viruses spread through mosquito bites
- Animal bites
- Sharing body fluids
- Invest in a good bug repellent that contains at least 20% DEET to protect against ticks and mosquitoes. Other insect repellents include Picaridin, Oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
- Reduce exposure to germs by doing the following:
- Wash your hands
- Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol
- Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Wash your hands
Getting your immunizations can be costly, however, follow these steps to reduce and/or receive free immunizations (depending upon your insurance):
- Call your medical insurance and find out if the require immunizations are covered. The coverage may depend upon whether a provider is in or out of network. In addition, if your medical and prescription coverage is separate this can make a difference as well.
- Find out if your doctor can administer all the required inoculations you require.
- If your prescription coverage is separate and you require a prescription for one of your shots or oral medications, contact your prescription provider to find out the coverage and any pharmacies that are in-network.
- After you find out your coverage, costs, and where to obtain your injections, ensure to give yourself plenty of time to get all the suggested/required immunizations.
Again, there are many resources out there just tap into them. All the suggested do’s and don’ts are easy and may take a little extra effort but are worth it. It may mean the difference between having an enjoyable time or having a miserable time.
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