Planning a vacation? If the kids are not on summer break yet, they will be shortly, and many of us will be hitting the road or hopping a plane for a trip.
But you don’t want to get sick or see your summer vacation cut short. Brenda Powell, MD, a travel health specialist who works in Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, says it is easy to get sick when you travel.
“You’re planning this wonderful vacation, yet it’s very stressful. You are worried about things and making arrangements, and that compromises or hurts your immune system,” Dr. Powell says.
“And then when you finally do travel, you’re not sleeping well. You’re crossing time zones, sleeping in new places, traveling at odd hours of the day, and that’s also very hard on the immune system,” she adds.
Dr. Powell says our diet plays a role, too. She says we typically don’t eat well or drink enough water when we travel, which can also weaken our immune systems. To keep your immune system strong, make sure you’re getting enough vitamins in your diet before your trip, including vitamins C and A.
Also, to help lessen your chances of getting sick during your travel, be sure to bring along some hand sanitizer, Dr. Powell says.
“You may not be able to wash your hands when you want to. So, if you can’t get to soap and water when you have to have clean hands, you can use your hand sanitizer,” Dr. Powell says.
“Even when you do have the opportunity to wash your hands with soap and water, you’re still touching many things that other people have touched, and that’s how you can somehow be exposed to bacteria or viruses,” she adds.
Dr. Powell says it’s especially good to use a little hand sanitizer after touching handrails, doorknobs, or other communal things.
In the end, vacation should be fun and relaxing. Take the right precautions and enjoy your time away!