Do’s and Don’ts When Sick on the Road
Bad bacteria and viruses are universally viewed as big, mean jerks. Being sick and far from your own bed can be very tough, especially when you are on a much-anticipated vacation. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help prevent sickness and to help you feel better when the bad bacteria bites.
Do Have A Pre-Packed Sick Bag
Having everything you need in one bag when you feel the sickness coming on will make things that much easier on you. I keep my sick bag stocked and ready to go year round, and just double check it before each trip. Make a small checklist that you keep in the bag to make for easy re-packing when needed. Below are suggestions for what to pack.
- Prescription antibiotic – I have a friend who gets sinus infections multiple times a year and her doctor knows this. He knows my friend travels a lot so he writes her a prescription for emergencies while on the road.
- Other meds like Vitamins/Emergen-C, Pain Medicine, Anti-Diarrheal pills, and allergy meds – I normally only pack a few of each type of medicine, enough to get me through 1-2 days if needed.
- Kleenex or handkerchief
- Over the counter saline nasal spray – It will help keep your nasal cavity hydrated, use during long flights or at high elevations. It helps prevent nose-bleeds.
- Hand Sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes
- Lotion – If you are washing your hands a lot, they will dry out and you’ll need some lotion.
Don’t Forget Earplugs
I always pack multiple pairs of earplugs on every trip. God forbid, I lose one and then have to listen to somebody snore all night! Whether camping, staying in a hostel, sharing a room with your traveling mate, or cat napping on the airplane, earplugs are my best friend. It is so important to your overall health to get proper rest on your vacation.
Do Pay Attention To What You Are Eating And Drinking
Hydrate! Always. This is mostly common sense nowadays, but it is easy to forget, especially on a busy travel day or when your mind is on seeing Time Square and not the last time you had a sip of water.
Wash your hands before eating, especially in airports and high-traffic areas. Do not go cold turkey with caffeine or go overboard. Try to keep your caffeine intake similar to that at home. For international travel, limit or avoid altogether drinking tap water. Making sure to eat boiled food or food that needs to be peeled to eat to eliminate mean and harmful bacteria.
Don’t Use Phones or ATMs Near Bathrooms
No further comment needed.
Do Plan Ahead When Traveling Internationally
Whether you have a cold in Finland or malaria in Africa, it is best to plan ahead for being ill when you are traveling internationally. You’ll already have a headache if you’re sick. Don’t make it bigger by poor planning.
Check with your health insurance provider first and if you aren’t highly satisfied with their overseas, out-of-network options, then consider buying travel insurance. Get the recommended vaccinations. Look into apps that translate medical terms and medicines. One to check out is MedMap.
Don’t Think Your Airline Is Going To Help You Out Just Because You’re Sick
Just don’t go into it thinking that. Airlines will definitely charge you to change your ticket if you are sick, or sometimes they won’t let you on your flight. If they can help you, they most likely will, but sometimes their hands are tied. Talk to someone in person at the airport, if at all possible. Focus the necessary energy on the situation and then let it go. Your energy is needed to help yourself heal.
Do Check Out The Tube
It’s not every day that you can watch the news in German or watch Sleepless In Seattle in Portuguese. Find the fun in the horrible overdubbing or the not so horrible subtitles.
Don’t Stay Holed Up In Your Hotel Room
Don’t watch the tube for too long, though. Even if you can’t spend more than 5 minutes at a time outside, try to get some fresh air every day. Take a five-minute walk and take five pictures of something you haven’t seen before and then look at them back in your hotel room. Then you can say you saw the city every day. Use the down time to write or draw.
When a five-minute walk won’t get you past the hotel parking lot, find that one small patch of green grass they have partitioned off. Sit in the grass and feel the texture and coolness of the blades. Maybe dig your fingers into the dirt, breath in deeply and say to yourself, “I’ve never touched dirt in ________ before!” Fill in the blank with where ever it is you are visiting and embrace the moment. New experiences are around every corner. The trick is finding them.
Hopefully, all of your traveling days are healthy and vibrant, but when you are feeling under the weather remember these tips and beat away those bad bacteria blues.