Your body is introduced to a myriad of new sights, sounds, experiences, and unfortunately – GERMS, when you travel.
1: Hand Hygiene
The number one way to avoid sickness is to practice proper hand hygiene. In an ideal world, we would have access to clean bathrooms to wash our hands after every car trip, every exchange of money, every train ride, every hand shake, every new set of keys and door knob and lift button and stair railing is touched. Unfortunately this is just not possible when on the go. By using Stayzon™, you can be confident that your hands have 24-hour protection against germs.
Other ways to keep healthy include getting enough sleep. If you are taking a long international flight – consider breaking it up with a stopover. Not only will this ease the body into its new times zone, but sleep can work miracles. Spending a night seated in economy can run havoc on the bodies immune system and hormones. One coughing passenger beside you can potentially ruin your holiday.
3: Drink water
Drink bottled water and check the seal before you buy, or even better, save money and the environment by using your own bottle with built in filter. Make sure you brush your teeth with this too.
4: Food contamination
Ensure that any food you eat, as best you can, is fresh, cooked thoroughly and piping hot. If you are not careful with your food on your travels, you could potentially be exposing yourself to diarrhea, E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella, Giardia, Entamoeba hystolytica, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidia, Cyclospora, cholera, and much more nastiness. Apply Stayzon™ before eating.
Street food is great, as you can see how clean the cooking environment is, and the food is often prepared right in front of you. I often go for the one where all the locals are eating. Look out for signs of good hygiene practice at any street food stall or food court you eat at. Does the person handling the food wear disposable gloves and change them frequently? Is there a separate person handling the money or, at the very least, does the person cooking the food remove and replace gloves every time they handle cash? Is hand washing a regular occurrence? Is raw food left out in the open or is it stored correctly? These things may seem inconsequential but they are extremely important!
Be careful of salad washed in local water, buffet style foods that have been left out for some time, and food exposed to flies, or reheated. If you have a sensitive stomach, take it easy to start with, and don’t be embarrassed to stick with what you know.
5: Get Active!
Exercise improves your overall health and well-being and strengthens your immune system, which makes you less susceptible to illness. And if you do get sick, your body is better able to fight off the infection and more quickly get you back on your feet. It isn’t foolproof, of course, because fit people still get sick, but in general the fitter you are, the better your body will be at shrugging off that annoying bug or illness.
6: Sun Protection
There are times when you just don’t realise how burnt you are getting, especially when in and around the water. Always wear sunscreen when snorkeling, skiing, surfing, when on a boat and when it’s windy. In Australia & New Zealand there is very little ozone layer and getting burnt, even on a cloudy day, can happen quickly.
Current recommendations on sun protection say you should use a minimum of factor 15, though I recommend at least SPF 30.
Protecting yourself from the sun goes beyond getting bad sunburn though. You should also stay well hydrated if you are traveling in a country or region with a hot or tropical climate, as well as cover up with loose clothing and even a hat or scarf. If you don’t, then dehydration can set in very quickly, and that can lead to more serious conditions such as exposure, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, which if left unattended can become a medical emergency.
6: Insect Protection
Mosquitoes can introduce life threatening diseases like malaria. Other buzzing insects are simply annoying and can ruin a proper nights sleep, and they’re not just for hot climates. Some of the worst insects I’ve ever encountered were in Finland, and Alaska in summer.
Ways to avoid bites include sleeping under a mosquito net, or in an air-conditioned hotel room.
You can wear insect repelling clothes, patches or wristbands, burn citronella coils, and even install an app on your phone with a high pitched buzzing that insects hate.
It is these small simple steps that dramatically reduce your risk of getting ill overseas, but they are often so simple that many people overlook them. Before you set off on your trip of a lifetime, take a moment to think about your health and prepare properly. That way you will be able to enjoy your trip with peace of mind.