Getting sick can be a huge disappointment when you are travelling. Not only does it take the fun out of the trip, it disrupts your entire schedule and most times, costs extra cash when you are plagued with severe symptoms and forced to seek medical care outside of your insurance cover.
Luckily, while travelling itself exposes you to a whole new range of parasites and environments that could spur illness, there are ways to minimize the chances of getting sick. Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 online hotel booking site has compiled a list of tried and true ways to keep your body and immune system strong and ensure you do not get sick when travelling.
A new study by Michigan State University researchers found that only 5 percent of people who used the bathroom washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections.
Get all required vaccination
Prevention is certainly better than cure. If you can protect yourself, why not do so? Vaccinations are a way of protecting yourself from the risk of getting particular diseases. Not all vaccinations, however, are required for every individual for every trip; some destinations expose you to the risk of contracting certain diseases that are not prevalent in the location you are travelling from, and so it is essential to vaccinate yourself against these diseases.
Also, individual factors, such as your personal medical history, how long you will be traveling, and what you will be doing affects what vaccination you need to take. Some countries even require travelers to show an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before entry.
Pack a hand sanitizer and wash your hands when you can
The norm is to wash your hands before eating anything and after using the bathroom, and it is important not to neglect this routine while travelling. Matter of fact, it is even more important to wash up much more frequently than you would normally. Your skin is your first line of defense and your hands specifically are always touching things and then touching your own face, mouth, or eyes, so, keeping them clean protects you from a lot of risks. In situations where you have no access to water for washing up, hand sanitizers come in very handy.
Take immune boosting herbs and vitamins:
While travelling, especially if you are visiting a new environment, it is important to pack extra supplements specifically to help keep your immunity strong. You can never be too sure of what you could be exposed to- bacteria and germs, and it is better to face the uncertainty with an ultra-strong immune system. Try Vitamin C supplements. Saline solution and nasal mists are also effective in fighting germs, as they keep your nasal passages moist, which enhance your body’s own germ-flushing activity.
The importance of water cannot be overstated. Drinking water is essential while travelling as it flushes your body of toxins, helps your digestion -which is associated with your immune system- and keeps you hydrated. Most times, while travelling or visiting certain locations with dry weather conditions, it is easy to get dehydrated, and dehydration not only makes you more vulnerable to invading parasites and germs, it also makes it harder for you to recover once infected. Also, drinking water ensures the mucus membranes in the nose and throat remains moist and better equipped to fight germs. Note that drinks like alcohol and coffee do not count as good choices for hydration.
Watch What You Eat
Food contamination is a major problem travelers have while visiting new locations. If you are not very careful with the kind of food you eat or where you eat on your travels, you could potentially be exposing yourself to diarrhea, gastrointestinal poisoning, cholera, and other horrible diseases. Try to abstain from random street or local cuisines; look out for signs of good hygiene practice at any street food stall or food court you eat at; and ensure any food you eat is fresh, well-cooked, and served very hot. If possible, try to make your own food, that ways, the risk is less.
Keep yourself engaged with activities
Most people just forget about staying fit or exercising once they are on vacation or taking a trip. Exercise, however, is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy and fight off unwanted infections and diseases, as it improves overall health and well-being, strengthens the immune system, and makes it easier to bounce back from an infection or illness. If you are not active or fit before traveling, start on the trip! Visit the gym room in the hotel, go hiking into a forest or up a mountain, swim in the streams, go for a jog or do anything that makes you heart beat and you sweat a little.