Heading off on vacation is often the culmination of months of planning and saving for your travel budget. It’s the one time of year when we really get to relax, let our hair down, and enjoy the freedom of being away from work. So why risk wasting all that effort by allowing an unexpected bout of sickness to ruin it?
Health dangers are part of nearly every trip, but with proper precautions before and during your travels, it’s entirely possible to avoid getting sick on vacation.
1. Get your shots
Your number one priority when heading off on an international vacation should be making sure that you are protected from diseases. First, double check that you are up to date on your routine vaccinations, such as those for Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (Tdap) and Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), which may require a booster. Then you need to figure out what jabs are necessary for whichever country or countries you are planning to visit.
The best way to do this is to make an appointment with your health care provider or a specialized travel clinic, which should be able to advise you on exactly what you need. It’s important to leave yourself plenty of time, as some of the shots, such as the vaccination against cholera, require two doses. Also make sure you check if there is any medication you need to take while you are traveling, such as anti-malaria tablets. It’s far better to be safe than sorry.
2. Prepare for the plane journey
You don’t want to ruin your vacation before it’s even begun by arriving at your destination feeling out of sorts, so it’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared. Long plane journeys are renowned for having a detrimental impact on your health, but even short flights could be hazardous. The effects of air travel on the body range from dehydration and restlessness, to the potentially fatal deep vein thrombosis.
Do your best to make sure that you are fully rested in the days leading up to your flight. Consider boosting your immune system by taking some multivitamins, eating healthily the week beforehand, and ensuring that you are fully hydrated when you board the plane. However tempting it may be, particularly if you’re a nervous flyer, stay away from the airport bar, as the combination of alcohol and altitude may undo all of your preparation.
3. Avoid tap water
Regardless of your destination, avoiding the local tap water is always a good idea when you go on vacation. There are many locations around the world where it’s unsafe to drink the tap water, but even in the countries where it is technically safe, the water may still upset your stomach. This is due to the different balance of minerals and chemicals in the local water, as well as the different purification…
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