Health seems to always be a topic of discussion when it comes to traveling. Most recently, Ebola has dominated the news headlines and instilled fear across the country. If you are planning a trip abroad in the future, here are some tips on how to travel with an eye toward maintaining your good health.
It truly is important to do your research before you travel abroad.
Before you depart, educate yourself on the country you will be traveling to and determine if diseases are prevalent or if outbreaks are occurring. The best outlet for online research is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. This site includes travel health notices as well as tips, articles, vaccine and immunization information and more. Other tips to keep in mind are:
• Don’t buy medicines abroad
• Take an ample supply of medications with you include over-the-counter drugs
• Research required immunizations at least 6 weeks prior to your departure
• Research the altitude at your destination and consider any lifestyle changes you may want to make
Another useful outlet is STEP. Enrolling in the STEP program is highly advised. STEP is The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program which is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The benefits of STEP include:
• Receive important information from the Embassy about health and safety conditions in your destination country
• Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency
• Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency
Important tips to remember during your trip:
• Exercise - During long trips, circulatory problems in your legs can occur. To help eliminate issues, stand up and walk every hour. You can also swing your legs and do ankle rolls to help the blood move through your body appropriately
• Eat and drink wisely - According to the FDA, you should avoid overindulgence as too much alcohol and/or food can result in gastrointestinal problems, poor sleep, and altered moods
• Fight off jet lag - Time-zone hopping can affect our bodies. Minimize fatigue associated with a time change by eating normally and getting a good nights sleep at your final destination
Healthy travel requires planning and preparation. Although no one wants to think about getting sick or having an emergency, sometimes it’s inevitable. By being proactive you can be better prepared for any possible issues that may arise.