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Tips To Stay Health When Traveling

December 7, 2018

Even with the best of intentions, there are some common problems that may derail your healthy travel plans. Here’s how to deal with them.

Is it the biggest deal to gain a few pounds on my vacation?

Gaining a few pounds over the course of a one-week vacation because you don’t want to bother with watching what you eat or trying to exercise isn’t detrimental to your overall health . But, it might leave you feeling irritable and low on energy either because your eating is imbalanced or you’re not getting those feel-good endorphins from exercise. On the other hand, if you do end up picking up some extra weight, you can likely drop it within a week or two when you’re back home, provided that you’re vigilant about jumping right back into a healthy eating and exercise routine.

How do I deal with a food allergy or other dietary restrictions in a country where I don’t know the language?

Food allergies are non-negotiable. Allison Arnett, a registered dietician and the health and wellness manager at Yale Hospitality, the food services operations for Yale University, suggests traveling with a food allergy ID card that clearly indicates your allergies both in English and the language(s) of the country in which you plan to travel. And, do your homework before you travel. Often, the hotel concierge or a travel agent will have a good sense of restaurants that offer variety or accommodations for food allergies. Always pack snacks in case you find yourself with limited options.

Dietary restrictions can be handled in a similar way by carrying cards that clearly indicate the foods you cannot or choose not to eat. (Pictures can help bridge a language gap.) While travel is a great time to try new experiences, including culinary experiences, never do it at the risk of your well-being.

What if I still get sick while traveling? 

Eating well and staying active aside, it’s just as important to prioritize your physical health when you’re traveling. Packing a first-aid kit is a smart idea in case you get hit with a stomach bug or the flu or have a scrape or fall.

The first-aid kit should include:

  • Bandages of varying sizes
  • An antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin
  • A fever and pain reducer
  • A motion sickness remedy
  • Thermometer
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Medicine for allergic reactions
  • Stomach ache medicine
  • Cold and flu relief medication
  • Rehydration tablets in case of diarrhea

My travel companions are making it hard to stay healthy. What can I do?

Communication is key with your travel companions so it’s best to clearly state your intentions to follow a healthy diet and squeeze in some exercise before heading off on your trip. They may be on a free-for-all eating regimen, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. While you should allow yourself to enjoy treats, do so on your own terms, and let your travel companions know what works best for you. Schedule “me time” into your day to exercise or unwind. It is definitely O.K. to ask your friends or family to be understanding and flexible, but don’t forget to have fun!

My schedule is packed all day. How do I make time to exercise?

Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning to do one of the workouts outlined below. If you plan to workout later in the day, chances are that you’ll likely be too busy, or having too much fun out and about to actually find the time. Alternatively, if you make your day an active one by taking a walking or bike tour, you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about skipping a workout.

What are some things I should be sure to do? 

Here are a few things that are always a good idea, but can be extra important when you are thrown out of your usual routine:

  • Wear sunscreen daily
  • Make sure to get enough sleep. You may be dealing with jet lag, but one effective way to acclimate to a different time zone is to take a walk in daylight. A short daytime nap also helps.
  • You can also adjust to a new time zone in advance of your trip: if you’re going to Europe, which is ahead in time zones compared with the United States, try to go to bed bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier than their usual time — it’s ideal to start this new routine a week before your trip, but a few days ahead will help, too. For West Coast travel, do the opposite.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. This simple tip helps with everything from dehydration to constipation to overcoming jet lag. Since you’re likely to get busier as the day goes on and may forget to drink, try starting your day by drinking 16 ounces.

Boca Regional Urgent Care is the place to go for Travel Medicine services.  We have trained Travel Medicine specialists on staff who can help get you ready for a safe trip with the vaccines and medications you may need.  Call (561) 883-6687 to make an appointment.

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