Most people have the opportunity to travel somewhere in the world during the course of their life, whether that trip is for business or pleasure, a quick mini-break or a lengthy adventure lasting for weeks or months. Regardless the type or length of a trip, the normal daily routines of an individual’s life become disrupted at best and, at worst, completely fall apart, as sleeping, eating, exercising and other daily life patterns are disrupted.
These disruptions can have a profound effect on an individual’s health both during the trip and after returning home; however, it is possible to take care of yourself whilst traveling and to enjoy the trip fully without the nuisance and unpleasantness of ill health.
A major preventative procedure that must not be forgotten and is ignored at your peril is to obtain the necessary shots to protect you against diseases that are present in the country you are visiting. Consult your doctor well ahead of your departure date to allow the shots to become fully effective.
Main travel health risks
- Deep vein thrombosis – when on long-haul flights there is a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) developing in the lower limbs. This can be a life-threatening condition. To avoid this, special flight socks and compression tights can be purchased. It is also vital to stand occasionally and walk around the aircraft to encourage blood circulation to the legs.
- Drinking water – if traveling in countries of the world where hygiene is not to Western standards tap water should be avoided. Drink bottled water and use it for cleaning your teeth. Avoid salads that will have been washed in the local tap water.
- Food poisoning – wherever you are in the world you have to eat. Food poisoning can ruin a holiday and the resulting diarrhea and sickness can be violent, distressing and debilitating. To avoid it completely can be difficult in some countries but by using common sense the risk can be reduced. Buying food from street vendors might add to the interest and experience of a vacation but it is often unwise. Eating the food provided in your hotel is a far safer option.
- Malaria – if traveling to countries where the disease is prevalent obtain antimalarial tablets and take them as directed. Always use a mosquito net when required.
Getting enough sleep is vitally important for an individual’s health and well-being. Some people find that getting enough natural sleep when traveling can be difficult. Herbs may help; chamomile is available in tea form, while melatonin and valerian can be purchased as supplements. If herbs prove ineffective, an over-the-counter sleep aid may be the next step. Avoid caffeine, heavy foods and alcohol for several hours before bed.
It can be difficult to maintain a regular physical routine when away from home. The key is to be flexible about when and how one works out. Shorten or break-up workouts as needed; 20 minutes of crunches, lunges, push-ups and squats or 30 minutes of brisk walking can help an individual maintain their fitness level while traveling.
Avoid putting on weight
Rich and exotic foods can make controlling portion sizes nearly impossible, but maintaining healthy eating habits from back home will help to decrease the negative effects of indulging in new types of food. Choose baked, broiled or grilled foods when possible; having dressing and sauces served on the side; and avoid over-eating. If traveling with someone you can order samplers or appetizers that may be split. Some restaurants charge if an order is split between people but the savings in calories is worth it. If portion control proves too difficult, dietary supplements such as Garcinia Cambogia would be a good investment. Garcinia Cambogia and similar supplements reduce the appetite by making one feel full sooner. Garcinia Cambogia Extract also improves serotonin levels, reducing stress and encouraging better sleep patterns.