Whether you’re traveling for work or for leisure, there’s a real risk of something happening to you, healthwise. Your daily routine is changed, you may make some unhealthy choices, etc. But with these five simple things, you may be able to ward off some common maladies and keep feeling good.
Drink Lots Of Water
Staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response to enable your body to better fight cold and flu viruses. But airplanes are dry. So bring a refillable water bottle and if the airport you’re at has a hydration station after the TSA checkpoint, USE IT! If they don’t have one, buy a bottled water (or 2 or 3) and try to drink about 8 ounces per hour. Also avoid alcohol, salty foods and caffeine, since they tend to dry you out even more. Fresh fruit is another way to get extra liquid into you.
Have A Bottle Of Hand Sanitizer At The Ready
I will fully admit that I’m a hand sanitizer junkie. I always have a 2 ounce bottle of in my pocket (I make sure it fits into my bag o’ liquids if I’m flying) and I use it a LOT, because I know that hotels, airports and airplanes are FILTHY. I wipe down my arm rest, tray table and hotel TV remote control and if I touch a door handle, anything at a store, or you name it, if there’s no bathroom around to use regular soap and water, I will wash my hands with that stuff. You just don’t know who touched it before you and what germs they could have on their hands. Really…if you have to sign for something at the hotel and the person who gives you the pen has a cold and wiped his/her nose with his/her hand a couple of minutes beforehand, and then picks up the pen to give it to you, guess whose germs you’re getting on your hand when you touch that pen? And then if you touch YOUR nose (or mouth, or eyes), guess who’s at risk for catching that cold? Why risk it? Wash your hands. A LOT.
I know, I know, it’s HARD to eat healthy when you’re out of town. Fast food is quick and easy and as the old commercial goes, “Snickers satisfies.” Plus if you’re somewhere that’s known for a particular type of food, like BBQ or creamy stuff or pasta, you want to eat all the foods. And no one says you can’t…but just do it in moderation. And make sure you’re still getting fruits and vegetables in your diet. Besides the fact that the fiber will help with travelers’ constipation (yup, it’s a thing. I bet you thought it was just you, right?), the vitamins, especially vitamin C, may boost your immune system. Garlic is another food that may boost your immune system, while dairy products can boost immune response, and yogurt and other cultured milk products contain probiotics. You’re not going to find a lot of any of that in a Double Whopper and a large fries.
If you’re on a plane (or even a train) for an extended period of time, especially if you’re on certain common medications, you’re at risk for developing blood clots (DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis) in your legs. Unfortunately, if a DVT breaks free from your leg and travels to your heart or lungs, you could die very quickly. To help prevent that, consider wearing compression socks, walking around every hour or doing periodic leg exercises.
Don’t Overdo It
A well-rested body is a healthy body. Give yourself plenty of time to sleep and plan for jet lag if you’re going to to be more than one or two time zones away from home.
You want to remember your time away as a good time, not as the time you caught who-knows-what. You can’t always prevent getting sick, but you can definitely do the above to try to keep yourself as healthy as possible.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary