Traveling is an exciting adventure that provides you with many options for fun, exploration, and the exhilaration of viewing new places. Unfortunately, traveling isn’t without its risks. One of the major risks that travelers face on a daily basis is contracting an illness. Travelers can contract an illness at any point before their trip and during their trip. Either of these scenarios will result in the brighter portions of your trip soured or ruined by painful symptoms and exhaustion.
Bacteria and viruses can be found everywhere while you’re out traveling. You can visit a local coffee shop for your favorite drink and walk past someone who coughs in your direction, exposing you to their illness. You could even catch something on the plane. There’s no way for you to know who sat in your seat before you. A thorough interior cleaning of the plane and it’s small pieces, including the tray table and the belt buckles, is a privilege that doesn’t occur very often. The germs from a previously sick passenger could still be alive on these surfaces, waiting to latch onto you and ruin your trip.
Even if you don’t catch a virus or encounter harmful germs on the plane ride to your destination, you could become sick before your trip. It is critical for you to recognize the signs of a developing illness so that you can begin the proper treatments and take the proper medications to try to reduce the severity of the illness. This will help you to overcome the illness quicker.
What are the signs of a developing illness? Well, they differ for each type of common winter illness, but there are certain symptoms that span multiple illnesses. Developing a sudden headache, nausea, stomach ache, muscle ache, sore throat, stuffy nose, or a runny nose should be given serious consideration as early warning signs of an illness like the flu or a cold. These symptoms should not be ignored and dismissed as simple things that will go away in a day.
If you start to feel any of these symptoms starting, you should start drinking water and use disinfectant. Sicknesses and illnesses can tax your body and quickly cause you to become dehydrated. It’s also important that you avoid alcohol. Alcohol “will suppress your immune system so it’s harder to get better quickly,” says Dr. Rajapaksa.
Rest is another essential aspect of the healing process. When your symptoms start to show themselves, don’t make them worse by overexerting your body. Whether your symptoms start before the trip or during, take time to relax in a bed or on a sofa. The steam from a warm shower will help with a stuffy nose. Warm tea with honey and lemon will coat and soothe a sore throat. Then nap or rest for the day. A book, a laptop, and a television are also welcome additions.
If hydrating and resting don’t help, don’t hesitate to visit a physician. Making an appointment before your trip will be easy, but seeing a doctor while on your trip could be challenging. Some hotels have a doctor on-call, so don’t be shy about asking about it at the front desk.
Eating while sick is risky. The wrong food can land you stuck in the bathroom for the entire day. Forego any raw foods and dairy. Fill up on wholesome foods with very little grease like soups, pasta, rice, and lightly seasoned lean meats.
Just because you rarely get sick doesn’t mean that you’re impervious to illnesses. It is a financially responsible choice to invest in travel insurance for the duration of your travels in case the unexpected happens.
Lastly, remember to pack an emergency kit. This kit should have one type of every over-the-counter medication that you may need as well as bottles of vitamins to boost your immune system. “Take a probiotic regularly to help your immune system to be more resilient,” says Dr. Rajapaksa.