Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 29, 2013

Tips for a Healthy Trip

Person Washing Hands with Soap in WashbasinWe live in a world of germs — little microscopic critters that can absolutely wreak havoc on your health. Travel presents special challenges by exposing us to types of germs to which our body is unaccustomed. Nothing can ruin a trip quicker than an unexpected bout of diarrhea or an infection or some other health-related matter. Taking some common sense precautions, however, can mitigate the damage that germs can do. Here are some basic precautions that every traveler should observe to ensure a healthy and enjoyable trip.

Hands
• Be aware of where you place your hands while traveling.
• Keep in mind that public and airline toilets are breeding grounds for germs.
• Wash your hands often.
• Carry and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Keep your fingernails short.
• Do not put your fingers in your mouth or bite your fingernails.



Feet
• Wear flip-flops when taking a shower.
• Keep your feet fresh with talcum powder.
• Wear shoes suited for your environment/activities to minimize the risk of injuries.
• Consider closed-toed shoes for travel (in the event of emergency landing).

Food
• Ensure that food is well-cooked and served hot.
• Avoid raw or slightly cooked food, seafood, mayonnaise, ice cream, butter, etc.
• Generally avoid food prepared by street vendors.
• If you can peel it you can eat it.
• Breads, tortillas, crackers, biscuits, and baked goods are generally safe.
• Avoid salads.

Water and Beverages
• Stay hydrated.
• Drink bottled water.
• Make certain that the seal on bottled water is not broken.
• Brush your teeth and take any medications with bottled water.
• When necessary, wash food in bottled or boiled water.
• It is generally safer to order drinks without ice.
• Avoid milk products or dairy products that are not pasteurized.
• Do not drink juices made by street vendors.
• Fresh hot coffee and tea are safe to drink.

Miscellaneous
• Avoid contact with local wildlife and stray animals like dogs and cats.
• Don’t swim in dirty or polluted water and do not swallow pool water.
• Do not trust glass tumblers in hotel rooms.

Carry a Basic Travel Kit
• Hand sanitizer.
• Disposable tissues or toilet paper.
• First aid kit (include a personal syringe and needles).
• Bed bug spray (optional).
• Feminine hygiene products.
• Vitamins (optional) to supplement deficiencies in changing diet.


Responses

  1. I would suggest an addition in the Feet category:
    – close-toed shoes are recommended
    A friend wore sandals the last day of a recent service trip to India, and stubbed his toe while crossing the street, leaving a nasty injury. On the flight home, he began to feel ill with a raging fever. Upon his return to CA, his wife whisked him off to urgent care where Dave was diagnosed with a serious infection. A short hospital stay and antibiotics arrested the infection and he recovered, but Dave will wear steel-toed shoes from now on, according to his wife!

    • Thanks, Monique. Great suggestion. I will add a caution about footwear to the list.

  2. I would add to the “Feet” category also – wear closed toed shoes on flights. I heard a long time ago to do this just incase you have to evacuate a crash. Although we hope we never have to, the recent crash in SF is a reminder. You don’t want to have to step over metal and flames with flip flops on!


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