On this week’s blog, we share an article from digital media journalist and blogger Smith Willas. Enjoy :-)
Picture this: you had been planning an amazing holiday excursion for a long time; you chose your destination; went there to have fun and pleasure, and BAM - out of thin air you get sick. This is probably the biggest anti-climax for those who go on their dream vacations because instead of having fun, they end up getting sick. If you are one of them, you must have scratched your head in frustration and confusion many times.
Leisure sickness – as it is commonly called – makes you susceptible even before you begin your journey as you get stressed in trying to put in long hours at work to prep for your vacation. Then comes the cabin air inside the planes that might make you fall ill. The fact is, cabin air is not all fresh – only about half of it comes from outside of the plane through jet engines. So in order to save fuel, the air inside the cabin is re-circulated, which means you become vulnerable to catch a cold or flu.
According to a report from Auburn University Alabama, disease-causing bacteria can survive for up to a week inside plane cabins. Also, studies suggest that overseas travelers have 50 percent chances of catching an illness; the most common one is gastro-infection.
If you are apprehensive about getting sick in your next outing, try the following hacks to avoid sickness so you can enjoy your sabbaticals.
1. Be Careful Of Food And Water
Food and water contaminations are the biggest causes of travelers’ diarrhea gastrointestinal infections. If you are not careful of what you eat and drink, you might be exposing yourself to bacteria like e.coli, shigella, salmonella, giardia, etc. Just make sure the water you drink is bottled, and the food is fresh, well-cooked and served hot (if it is meant to be hot). Whether you are sitting at a restaurant or having street cart food, ensure the cooking environment is clean, and look out for the signs of good hygiene practice. You need to notice how well these people are handling food and money. Is hand washing a regular occurrence? Is raw food left out in the open or is it stored correctly? Furthermore, you should avoid – salads that are prepared using untreated water; food that has been exposed for a long period of time; fruits that you haven’t peeled or skinned yourself; and seafood, particularly raw or inadequately cooked shellfish or fish.
2. Boost Your Immune System
In order to not miss out on the fun of your holiday trip, you need to keep your immune system up and running. So first of all, you need to have enough protein in your diet. “Your immune system is all protein as the antibodies that help fight disease are actually made of protein. Without the protein, your whole immune system will collapse” says Brad Lamm, founder of Breathe Life Healing Centers. He adds, “If your protein intake is [at a] bare minimum, all your body organs will be in major distress”. Another element to have for boosting your immunity is Vitamin D, which keeps your immune system operating at its best. Also, probiotics like lactobacillus have been shown to help boost immunity. Take N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – a type of amino acid with a powerful antioxidant that can enhance immune function, respiratory tract function, and assist in the detoxification of the liver.
3. Try And Stay Active
Needless to say, one of the most powerful ways to stay healthy and ward off unwanted infections is to exercise. There are many benefits to staying active: it improves your overall health and well-being and makes you less susceptible to illness. Even if you do get sick, you are more able to fight the infection and recover quickly. The fitter you are, the better your body fortifies itself against disease-causing germs. Always try and maintain a healthy lifestyle that shouldn’t change even while you are traveling. If you don’t plan to be physically active on your trip, do something that gets your body moving before your flight takes off. Go on a trek, jog in a park nearby, go hiking, or even go swimming. This will provide you with an active body ready to keep you free from illness wherever you go.
4. Get Vaccinated
As the saying goes, prevention is always better than the cure, so it is better to get vaccinated before risking it in unknown territory. However, there are no common vaccines that work equally well on everyone; it depends upon individual circumstances. Not all vaccinations are required for every individual for every trip. You need to take note of what country or region you are visiting, your personal medical history, duration of your travel, and what you will be doing. Along with these, it is better to get an appointment with a medical practitioner before embarking on your journey. Also, make sure to take anti-malaria tablets that suit you (especially when traveling to new places).
5. Keep Your Hands Clean At All Times
When you are traveling from one place to another, you never know which kinds of germs you pick up and from where. There are so many people you meet, so many unknown things you come across and so many new places you visit. This exposes you to many diseases and illnesses, so hand hygiene is essential to stop the spread of potential infections and reduce your odds of having diarrhea, flu or hepatitis. But you cannot use water and soap all the time to clean your hands. Instead, hand sanitizing gel or antibacterial spray can be effective weapons to keep germs at bay. Don't wait until you arrive at your destination, use them in planes since the latter are known for their unclean environments.
There are a lot of things at your disposal that can help you enjoy your vacations without the fear of or actually getting sick. Mentioned above are some of the simple yet very effective steps that can drastically lower your chances of picking up illnesses while having fun on your holidays. People often overlook them and unfortunately get sick, you shouldn’t do that on your next outing. Happy traveling :-)
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Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degree in Supply Chain & Operations Management and Marketing and boasts a wide-ranging background in digital media.