Did you know that travel can weaken your immune system? Travel preparations can be stressful, staying on schedule is often challenging, being in public places and contact with other people can, truth be told, increase your chances of catching a disease, you undergo changes in temperature, climate, air pressure, you switch time zones, and lose sleep. All of these factors can affect your health and spoil your vacations. Here are some tips on how to prevent that from happening. 😉
Usual travel health precautions
- Get vaccinated (if necessary)
- Eat and drink safely
- Prevent bug bites
- Keep away from animals
- Reduce your exposure to germs
- Avoid sharing body fluids
- Avoid non-sterile medical or cosmetic equipment
- Stay safe outdoors
- Maintain personal security
- Select safe transportation
- Know how to get medical care while traveling
Read more at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1. Pre-travel immune boost
It is very important to give your immune system a good boost before traveling.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Cut down on cigarettes, alcohol, and sweets.
- Use organic beauty products.
- Exercise. Preferably outdoors – in the sun, to get some vitamin D.
- Eat right. Eat organic food, lots of fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grain products and lots of these immune system boosters: citrus fruits, blueberries, garlic, onions, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, goji berries, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, horseradish, oats, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, honey, and mushrooms. Drink green tea and a lot of water.
Check out these 5 Smoothies To Boost Your Immune System.
2. Vaccinations, medications, and supplements
Always make sure to consult your doctor before traveling. Check the immunization recommendations and requirements for your destination and get vaccinated. Ask your doctor to prescribe you the adequate medications regarding your medical condition, medical history, and your destination (for example for some tropical destinations malaria tablets are required). Food supplements will keep your immune system strong and help you stay balanced. Make sure to buy organic supplements. 😉
3. Stress-free travel preparations
Keep your travel preparations as stress-free as possible.
- The first rule is to take your time and plan ahead.
- Always make sure to arrive early and to pack light.
- Do some research about your destination and be prepared.
- Book your first accommodation in advance and google how to get there from the airport.
- Make safety your priority.
4. Prepare for your flight
- Wear multiple layers so you don’t get cold.
- Dress comfortably.
- Use cleaning wipes to disinfect the tray table, seat pockets, and armrests.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Pack essential personal items, like a toothbrush, deodorant, hand sanitizer, tissues, some healthy snacks, and a moisturizing cream and lip balm to protect your skin from the dry air in the airplane.
Check out our packing list here. 🙂
5. Stay hydrated
Water is the source of life and staying hydrated is of extreme importance. Drink as much water as possible to flush out toxins and reduce bloating. You can add some lemon juice, a slice of cucumber or drink green tea, but try to cut down on soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
6. Wash your hands
…as often as possible. You will probably use public transportation, handle money, visit public facilities, touch things, and shake hands with strangers and there’s nothing wrong with that! Just try to wash your hands afterwards, especially before a meal.
7. Stay active
Physical exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living, therefore make sure to always keep your body moving. It only takes 30 minutes of exercise a day! 😉 Try to stay active even during the flight – get up, stretch your legs and walk around as often as possible. Read more about the importance of exercise here.
8. Be careful with tap water
Always make sure to google or ask the locals if the water is potable. In some places, the tap water is so contaminated, that you can’t even use it for brushing your teeth, let alone for washing your food or for drinking. It’s better to be safe than sorry! 😉 Also, don’t drink any smoothies or other beverages made with unpurified water.
9. Eat healthy
- Eat high-protein, high-fiber, and low-carb meals full of vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid processed food.
- Eat organic food.
- Make sure your diet is versatile and balanced.
- Have at least 3 meals a day.
- Avoid sugar, soft drinks, and white flour.
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Read more about how to eat right.
10. Eat in crowded and hygienic restaurants
If a restaurant is crowded, chances are they serve good food. Besides, high turnover of food means the ingredients are probably fresh and the meals are freshly cooked. Also, try to assess if the place is hygienic. If there are lots of flies and other disease-carrying insects, which could contaminate food, run! 😉
11. Check your silverware and glasses
Give it a glance before you use it. If it’s dirty, wipe it with a napkin, or ask for new silverware. Just don’t obsess over it – after all, some amount of bacteria is good for you. 😉
12. Stick to cooked food
High temperatures kill bacteria, so it’s better to eat properly cooked food, especially in shabby places. In nice, clean restaurants you can safely order some fresh fruits or vegetables.
13. Wash and peel
If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables, make sure to wash them in purified water and to peel them.
14. Be careful with meat and seafood
When in doubt, do not eat meat and seafood. Both can carry many bacteria when not handled properly. Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood can be particularly risky.
15. Spices, alcohol, and Coca-Cola
Researchers have discovered that chili and other spices kill bacteria in your stomach. So, if you ate something ‘suspicious’, eat something spicy and you might ‘get away with it’. 🙂 Strong alcoholic beverages and Coca-Cola are said to have a similar effect. By the way, we’re talking about one shot, not one bottle! 😀
16. Get enough sleep
Getting enough quality sleep plays a vital role in good health. It is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Read more about the importance of sleep and do not underestimate it!
17. Maintain good oral health
Good oral health can play a big role in your overall health. Brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash kills bacteria in your mouth. Besides, dental emergencies can be particularly nasty when traveling. :/
18. Stay relaxed and positive
Precaution is definitely a good idea, just try not to overthink and to worry too much! Worrying is bad for your health. In fact, studies have shown that worrying about getting sick can actually make you sick. :O So it’s better to keep calm and enjoy your vacation. 😉
19. Use sunscreen
Use sunscreen to protect your skin. The sun is very strong nowadays and UV rays are extremely dangerous. Note: the chemicals in regular sunscreens are also said to be harmful, therefore it may be a good idea to switch to organic sunscreens.
20. After-travel detox
Smoothies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. They will boost your immune system and detoxify your body – cleanse your digestive system and restore your nutritional balance. Here you can find some delicious detox smoothies.
Note: These methods work for us and are mostly based on personal experience. For expert advice consult your doctor. 😉