Healthy Traveling

Planning a fall jaunt?  Going away for one of the long weekends?  Taking the family somewhere exotic over the holiday vacation? Even if you go to the safest, non-exotic location, travel planning should include how to stay healthy and what to have on hand if you do get sick.

Before you leave:

  • Check your insurance coverage – need supplemental coverage?
  • Refill necessary prescriptions
  • Get required vaccines 

10 essentials to pack in your travel health kit:

  • Antidiarrheal medication – bismuth subsalicylate (i.e. Pepto Bismal) or loperamide (Imodium A-D)
  • Antihistamine & nasal decongestant
  • Motion sickness medication – Dimenhydrinate (i.e.. Dramamine) or scopolamine patches
  • Pain & fever medication Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
  • Constipation medication Polyethylene glycol (i.e. Miralax)
  • Cough suppressant/expectorant cough & throat drops, Robitussin
  • Antacid like Tums, Rolaids or Maalox
  • Antifungal & antibacterial ointments or creams
  • Hydrocortisone cream & bandaids
  • Hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol

How to stay healthy:

  • Worried about traveler’s diarrhea?  Don’t drink tap water or food rinsed in local water
  • Wash your hands often to avoid the norovirus
  • Drink lots of safe water (bottled, depending on where you are) to avoid constipation
  • Wear a patch to avoid motion sickness
  • Move around often to avoid blood clots
  • Jet lag – experts say to take a hot shower and get into bed with a light cover to trick your body into thinking it’s time for bed
  • If we are going to be in place where it will be difficult to get medication, my doctor will prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic which I take with me.  I almost never have to take it, but ‘better safe than sorry’ in distant places.

Other useful items:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Water purification tablets
  • Melatonin or Simply Sleep for sleeping
  • Medical thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Download the app Travel Safe for emergency medical service numbers for whatever your location is. $1.00 for Android & iOS.
  • If you are worried about the purity of the water on your adventure take a Camelbak All Clear bottle.  This filter makes water safe to drink.

Healthy Traveling with clean water

Camelbak All Clear Filter Bottle

Note:  if you are traveling to another country, alert your doctor or a local infectious disease doctor, in case he or she knows something about that country that you don’t.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has a website you can use to learn about health risks at your destination with recommendations for vaccines and medications.

I know it seems like a no-brainer, but make sure to wash your hands well and regularly. Share with your travel-mates, or anyone who comes over for dinner!