9 Tips For Staying Healthy While Traveling, According To A Retired Physician


In December of 2018, I retired from practising drugs. As an anesthesiologist, I spent my days in an working room placing folks to sleep and waking them up when their surgical procedures have been completed. It’s a bundle deal that I used to be completely happy to ship to a number of thousand sufferers over the course of my 26-year profession. 

I’ve traveled at each alternative, together with a number of instances this previous yr. I’m going to share the ideas I comply with to remain wholesome whereas touring — suggestions I used pre-COVID and in the course of the pandemic. 

Concerning COVID-19, I’m not going to weigh in on the professionals and cons of the COVID vaccines or of carrying a masks — I believe you could find sufficient opinions on each already.

And with respect to any vitamin, complement, medicine, or non-COVID vaccine recommendation that follows, please use this as a place to begin for a dialogue together with your healthcare supplier. This isn’t meant to be an alternative choice to a go to with somebody who is aware of you and your medical situations.

Listed below are 9 suggestions for staying wholesome whereas touring.

Teresa Otto

1. Keep Hydrated

Since your physique is about 60 % water, hydration is a key element to feeling your finest. Journey is dehydrating. The air on a aircraft is at most half as humid because the air in your house (10 to 25 % on a aircraft and round 50 % in your home, relying on the place you reside). 

Then there’s that subject of chopping again in your water consumption since you don’t know when or the place you’ll use the restroom subsequent. This could be behind your thoughts when you’re on an organized tour and never accountable for the consolation stops you make.

So what’s really useful? If you happen to’re touring by air, attempt to drink 8 ounces of water an hour. If you happen to drink alcohol, you’ll have to extend the quantity of water you drink to make up for alcohol’s dehydrating results. Attempt to keep away from alcohol throughout your flight. If you happen to should drink, achieve this solely carefully.

On the bottom, intention for about eight glasses of water a day, however let your thirst information you.

2. Get Loads Of Sleep

The significance of sleeping no less than 7 hours an evening can’t be underestimated, whether or not you’re at house or touring. Latest research hyperlink sleep deprivation to weight problems, sort 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart illness, dementia, and early demise.

I’m terrible on the subject of this one. I do know I might be higher if I ended ingesting caffeine properly earlier than bedtime and shut off my telephone and laptop computer earlier, too. Listed below are some further habits to undertake for higher sleep.

If you happen to’re planning on a protracted worldwide journey throughout many time zones, you may wish to think about including an in a single day keep in a metropolis the place you’ll be catching a connecting flight. Inns adjoining airports make this pretty straightforward to do, and sometimes there may be little distinction within the fare with a chronic layover.

3. Stretch Your Legs

Lengthy automotive and aircraft journeys improve your threat of a blood clot in your legs since you’re sitting for extended durations of time. This video exhibits some easy workouts you are able to do in your seat to forestall clotting.

If attainable, cease the automotive each hour or so to stroll. On flights, I go for an aisle seat so I’m free to stroll up and down the aisle when the seat belt signal is off. Contemplate carrying compression stockings that reduce blood pooling in your legs. 

If you happen to’ve had a blood clot earlier than, seek the advice of together with your doctor concerning the want for blood thinners or medical-grade compression stockings earlier than you journey.

4. Apply Good Hygiene

In line with the CDC’s statistics, flu instances in the USA plummeted in the course of the 2020–2021 season. Within the midst of the pandemic, not solely have been we not congregating with one another, however we have been practising our highest hand hygiene and protecting our coughs.

Thorough hand washing and utilizing hand sanitizer are the perfect methods to forestall the unfold of infections.

Professional Tip: If you fly, wipe down your seat’s armrests and tray desk. In line with research carried out earlier than COVID-19 and the superior cleansing strategies that resulted from it, the tables have been dirtier than the bathroom handles. 

Pepto Bismol at a store.
Teresa Otto

5. Guard In opposition to Vacationers’ Diarrhea

Most bacterial and viral sicknesses are unfold by inhalation, ingestion, or inoculation (rubbing your eyes). That being stated, for vacationers to creating international locations, meals and waterborne sicknesses are frequent, with the incidence of diarrhea between 30 and 60 %. Often, diarrhea resolves with out therapy in two to seven days.

The CDC’s web site supplies a commonsense information to consuming and ingesting in international locations the place North People could be in danger. To summarize: Eat totally cooked meals, wash and peel recent vegatables and fruits with bottled water, and drink solely boiled or bottled water. Keep away from ice cubes, and don’t overlook to brush your tooth with bottled water, too.

Pepto-Bismol (two tablets 4 instances a day) has some gentle antibacterial results and appears to cut back the prospect of getting vacationers’ diarrhea. If you’re allergic to aspirin, take blood thinners, or have kidney issues or gout, you’ll must keep away from Pepto-Bismol, nevertheless. 

Do you have to take prophylactic antibiotics to forestall diarrhea? No. Do you have to convey antibiotics on a visit to a creating nation, simply in case? Sure. I like to recommend bringing antibiotics in case the diarrhea is extreme or causes dehydration.

Listed below are further suggestions for stopping and treating vacationers’ diarrhea.

6. Go to A Vacationers’ Clinic Earlier than You Go away

If you happen to’re planning on touring internationally, a go to to a vacationers’ clinic no less than a month earlier than your journey can assist you get any vaccines or prophylactic antibiotics you have to (for diarrhea or malaria, for instance). 

If you happen to’ve by no means been vaccinated in opposition to hepatitis A, I like to recommend that you simply get the vaccine. Hepatitis A is a virus that impacts your liver, and it’s transmitted via contaminated meals or water.

Professional Tip: Convey your immunization file to your appointment.

A plane at the airport.
Teresa Otto

7. Analysis Docs And Clinics At Your Vacation spot

The CDC has a information that covers getting healthcare in your travels. It has various sources on evacuation insurance coverage (evacuation — which prices hundreds of {dollars} — will not be included in your journey insurance coverage, and it’s not coated by most medical health insurance plans), journey medical health insurance, and discovering a physician or clinic overseas.

Medicare doesn’t cowl care outdoors of the U.S. or its territories underneath most circumstances. For exceptions, go to their web site.

Cruise ships normally have a physician onboard. The Silk Street prepare I took did as properly. If you’re sick, search medical consideration sooner somewhat than later. It’s a lot simpler to deal with somebody within the early phases of an sickness.

If I’m touring internationally impartial of a bunch, I jot down the names and addresses of accredited clinics with English-speaking physicians earlier than I depart house. 

8. Contemplate Taking Nutritional vitamins Or Dietary supplements

It might take a whole guide to speak concerning the execs and cons of every vitamin and complement. All the things from ashwagandha (a stress hormone-reducing complement) to zinc is talked about as one thing that ought to be in your suitcase. 

Largely, research present that nutritional vitamins and dietary supplements like Airborne (with nutritional vitamins, minerals, and natural dietary supplements) help your well being. With respect to stopping and treating COVID-19, ongoing analysis is taking a look at how efficient nutritional vitamins and dietary supplements are.

A current research on vitamin D suggests {that a} deficiency results in a better probability of getting COVID-19 and having a worse end result. Many individuals within the northern a part of the U.S. and in Canada are poor due to much less publicity to the solar.

Professional Tip: I like to recommend getting a vitamin D stage (a blood pattern) first to find out whether or not you’ll want to take supplemental vitamin D. Your healthcare supplier can advocate a dose primarily based in your outcomes.

9. Watch What You Eat

Once I went to medical faculty within the Eighties, little or no time was dedicated to instructing vitamin. However I’m satisfied that good vitamin promotes your well being at house and on the street. 

We should feed ourselves with the perfect fruits, greens, and protein we will discover. Natural is even higher for meals labeled the “soiled dozen” — these which might be extremely contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. A handbook for a high-end automotive will advocate that you simply fill the tank with premium gasoline. We should fill our tanks with the perfect meals we will afford.

We should always restrict our consumption of refined sugars, extremely processed meals, and quick meals which might be straightforward to seize and eat on the go. Due to great issues like Cheetos and chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, that is one other “do as I say, not as I do” — identical to getting sufficient sleep.

Professional Tip: If you happen to’d prefer to learn extra about vitamin, I like to recommend Why We Get Fats and The Case In opposition to Sugar, each written by Gary Taubes. He’s a lawyer who makes a convincing case in opposition to refined sugar.


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