It’s summer time and for millions of Canadians, that means vacation. Some may enjoy the comfort of home – staycations – but many will seek out new experiences in faraway places. While this will no doubt cause memories to be cherished and shared, some may not be as joyous. The most common of these miserable moments come in the form of infections.
At one time, acquiring an infection during travel was considered to be a part of the journey. In some areas of the world, primarily developing countries, infection was to be expected. But over the years, with the advent of vaccinations, improved hygiene measures, and increased awareness, the risk dropped. Most of this decrease has been due to the great work of researchers while others have come in the form of common sense.
The key to staying healthy when away from home is to be aware of the environment and be ready to take on any possible trouble before it happens. To do this, there are five easy tips we can all use to ensure we stay safe. This way, we can remember only the good times.
- Have a scarf on hand. Respiratory infections are the most common and can leave you with a cold or the flu. The only way to spread these illnesses is by inhaling contaminated droplets sneezed or coughed out by a nearby person. While the easiest option is to stay six feet away from these people, this may not be possible. But a scarf has proven to be nearly as effective as a mask and won’t garner any strange looks from nearby people. Just be sure the scarf matches the climate!
- Dress for the microbes, not the weather. Some infections are transferred from insects. These vector-borne diseases can be some of the worst including malaria, dengue, and Lyme disease. Thankfully, they can only be spread if you are bitten. Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts can keep these pests from landing on your skin and finding a meal. But these are not perfect so make sure to check your body for any signs of a bite just to be sure.
- Keep Up With The Vitamin D. Travel can be tiresome and the immune system may take a beating in the process. Thankfully, Vitamin D has been shown to help balance the immune system and keep the human defense system running smoothly. Taking at least 400IU (up to 4000 for adults) every day will ensure your insides are ready for whatever you experience on the outside.
- Take Probiotics. In addition to Vitamin D, several bacterial species known as probiotics have also shown the ability to keep the immune system in check. These friendly bacteria can also help to keep your gastrointestinal tract happy even when your diet changes. A daily dose of between 5 and 10 billion is enough for adults but more is never a bad thing. Some travel packs contain as many as 30 billion per dose.
- Keep The Hand Sanitizer Close. You see it everywhere these days. Alcohol hand sanitizers seem to have taken over and with good reason. When there’s no sink with soap and water, they are the best way to keep your hands safe. Considering hands are involved in the majority of infections – think liking your fingers – then it’s obvious why having clean hands is the best way to stay safe. Just make sure the product has 62-70% ethyl alcohol and stays wet on the hands for at least 15 seconds each time you use it.
Although there is no way to guarantee an infection-free vacation, these tips can definitely help to keep you safe. They are simple to perform, don’t require any special gadgets, and most of all, adaptable to any area of the world. In the unlikely event you do get sick while away, just be sure to make an appointment with a medical professional upon your return. Even though there may be nothing wrong, it’s always a good idea to have a checkup to make sure everything is going just as well as before you left.