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:
- Insect repellant
- Water purification tablets
- Melatonin or Simply Sleep for sleeping
- Medical thermometer
- 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.
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!