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Tips to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling

Tips to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling

Delayed flights and lost luggage can suck the fun out of a vacation, but getting sick is (arguably) the worst traveling bummer. In some cases, you can’t prevent it, but there are a few things you can do to avoid getting sick while traveling.

The Golden Rule for staying healthy on your trip is to start healthy. Days before you are due to travel, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and staying hydrated. If you have a stronger immune system to start, your body will have a better chance at fighting off infections and prevent illness.

Germs On a Plane

Close quarters and lack of fresh air make planes a prime spot for catching a bug. However, the plane ride itself isn’t as germ infested as you might think. According to Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious disease expert with the Mayo Clinic, you are more likely to pick up an illness in the airport. So wash your hands whenever you can before boarding.

*Use hand sanitizer on the plane.The tap water on board planes is stored next to the waste system and studies have shown the water is teeming with bacteria.

*The tray tables are one of the worst parts of a plane for germ exposure. They are rarely wiped off and some flight attendants will tell you people have rested their feet on them and even sat dirty diapers on the tray. Bring along a few sanitizing wipes and give your tray table quick cleanup.

*Any buttons on your seat, say for volume control or calling an attendant, also need a good wipe down with an alcohol-based sanitizer.

*Avoid storing anything in the seat pockets. Who knows what has been stuffed down there. Dirty tissues, food wrappers, crumbs and other odd items have been found them.

*That air vent system above your head is full of recycled air, but it has been through a filter. Turn it on and point it at your lap, so it blows in front of your face. It will help blow away those germs on the track to your personal space.

Food Poisoning

One reason you go on a cruise is for the endless buffets of food. However, bacteria could be camping out in that cold meat tray. Trying new foods in foreign countries is an amazing way to experience the culture, but take these tips into consideration…

*Avoid cold meat trays, open containers of condiments (especially mayo) and snack-sized cheese cubes. People tend to forget their manners and use their hands to grab those delicious bite-sized chunks of cheddar or sliced cold turkey for their sandwich. Plus the cool, dry environment is idea for some strains of bacteria.

*Fruits – if you didn’t peel it and wash it – don’t eat it.

*Vegetables – if you didn’t wash it, don’t eat it unless it has been cooked. Be wary of veggies on sandwiches and burgers.

*Seafood is one of the top contenders for causing intestinal problems. If you can’t see how it is handled or prepared, don’t eat it. Note that smaller fish tend to be safer, but shellfish is best avoided.

*Check your milk-based products to ensure the have been pasteurized. You should find some kind of notation on the container.

*You may enjoy a rare stake or an extra juicy burger, but opt for the safer “medium” level of cooking while traveling. The same goes for eggs.

*Tread carefully when eating anything in foreign countries. Your stomach may not be used to the richness or spices used in dishes abroad.


*Tap water should be avoided whenever possible especially when traveling overseas.

*Water that has been boiled is generally safe, but be wary of tea and coffee made with tap water. It might not have gotten hot enough to kill bacteria.

*Note that boiled water will ensure safer drinking water, but it will not do anything for water that has been contaminated by chemicals.

Motion Sickness

*Ginger root is a fantastic way to combat a trip on the water or a day at an amusement park. Start taking a ginger supplement two days before you set sail or set foot in the park. Continue taking it daily, through your entire trip.