April 2011

Stay Healthy on the Road and Abroad

It doesn’t matter if you’re a once-a-week business traveler or love cross-country road trips – regardless, certain precautions while spending time away from home can keep you at your best. There’s nothing worse than feeling ill, especially when matters are complicated by unfamiliar territory. Fortunately, however, there are steps you can take to ensure a safe and successful excursion. Here are a few to get you on the right track:
1. Think before you eat or drink: If you’ve ever visited a developing country, you’ve been warned to stay away from the tap water. You may be surprised, however, to find that discretion is advised regarding liquids and foods wherever you are in the world. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises travelers to drink plenty of liquids (boiled or bottled if the tap water is questionable), they also suggest you avoid overindulging in any type of food, as well as substances containing alcohol. Eat normally to prevent gastrointestinal issues, and don’t forget to bring vitamin supplements if you’re worried about getting your daily dose of nutrients. Find out more at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049047.htm.
2. Work in a vacation workout: You may be looking forward to relaxing on the beach for your next getaway, but don’t forget that staying active makes for a more enjoyable trip. Livestrong.com recommends utilizing all your vacation amenities such as the hotel pool and gym, to treat yourself to an invigorating workout. You’ll feel better physically and mentally, and will have more energy for sightseeing and other activities. Don’t forget to take some risks, either: Cruise down a zip line or take a kayak lesson for an adventure that won’t even feel like exercise.
3. Study up on the local bugs: Infectious diseases can be a major threat to tourists, so be sure to get both pre- and post-travel exams by your doctor. According to University of Wisconsin Health Services, travelers should be well informed on diseases specific to the time and place of their visit. Rabies is a major problem among domestic animals in Southeast Asia, for example, while influenza is prevalent in the southern hemisphere during our spring and summer. 
Before your trip, be sure to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/travel for destination-specific advisories and updated vaccination and disease information. Also, talk to your doctor about any special circumstances like asthma, pregnancy or diabetes that may impact your ability to travel safely.
Don’t let poor planning slow you down while abroad; with the right information and a little common sense, you can enjoy a fabulous vacation or seamless business trip. Even minor pre-trip steps can get you ready to conquer the world and help you feel relaxed by the time you return home. More valuable travel tips for the whole family can be found at www.travel.state.gov.