10 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

10 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

Close quarters, exposure to new germs, different water, changes in sleep, and new food are all part of travel that can threaten your health. 

Internal medicine specialist Rajesh B. Dave, MD, of Gulf West Medical Associates offers the following tips to his patients in Port Richey, Florida, on how to stay healthy while traveling. 

Use this information to avoid colds, gastric distress, or other common travel illnesses. And, if you should come down with something that you just can’t kick, schedule an appointment at our office upon your return so we can help you heal. 

1. Check in with a doctor before travel

This is an especially important step if you’re traveling to a foreign country. We let you know if you need any travel vaccinations before visiting certain regions. These vaccinations should occur several weeks in advance of your trip to protect you from diseases like typhoid and hepatitis A. 

Dr. Dave also provides medication to help keep you from getting malaria and guidance on how to avoid mosquito bites, tick bites, and other potential problems.

2. Get enough sleep

It’s easy to get off your sleep schedule when you travel. You might stay out later for exciting events, or a time change or flight schedule may make you skimp on sleep. Being on the road is also more physically exhausting than being close to home, so be sure to listen to your body and rest when you need to. It can also be helpful to take melatonin the first night of travel.

3. Keep moving

Physical activity improves your immune system and does amazing things for your overall health. 

Even if you’re away from home, you can move your body. Walk everywhere and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

4. Start with a healthy breakfast

Sleeping in and skipping breakfast is a recipe for poor health. Even if you’re away for a few days, don’t start your day on empty. Fuel up with healthy options like fruit, cereal, or oatmeal before heading out the door. 

5. Stay hydrated

It’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling, so don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids. Start your day with a big glass of water, and carry a water bottle with you at all times. 

6. Keep alcohol and sweets to a minimum

Extra drinks and heavy desserts can lead to unwanted weight gain and disrupted sleeping. Be smart when you consume these treats and stick to mostly healthy foods in between indulgences. 

7. Make healthy food a priority

When you’re traveling, it’s easy to make excuses to eat unhealthy processed foods. Whenever possible, choose options that come with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, choose foods made with whole grains and less saturated fat. 

Even if you eat out often, stop by your local supermarket to pick up some healthy snacks to eat between meals. Fruits, vegetables, and plain popcorn are good options. 

8. Keep your hands clean

Wash your hands often. This is a smart everyday habit, but it’s extra important when you’re traveling. Keeping your hands clean reduces your risk of getting sick.

Make hand washing a priority before eating or touching your face. Carry wet wipes or hand sanitizer so you can freshen up when soap and water aren’t available. 

9. Moderate your activities

It’s easy to burn the candle at both ends when you’re traveling, but this can wear you out and leave you susceptible to infections. Take your time, whether your travel is for work or for pleasure. Listen to your body and take breaks when you can. 

10. Overcome jet lag

If you’re traveling to another time zone, jet lag can get in the way of your health. To avoid jet lag, try using melatonin and drinking chamomile tea to help you sleep on your flight and for the first few evenings once you reach your destination.

It’s a good idea to wear earplugs and an eye mask to tune out any sensory distractions. Turn off your smartphone, tablet, or laptop several minutes (or hours) before sleeping. 

Travel can lead you to alcohol and caffeine. These substances disrupt your sleep. Instead, drink chamomile tea to help you relax and fall asleep, and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. And, even though it may be tempting, don’t sleep in when you first arrive. Try to get in a sleep rhythm for the location you’re in.

For any support you need in advance of travel, contact Gulf Coast West Medical Associates. Call our office or schedule an appointment online today. 

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