It’s easy to forget the importance of health and wellness while traveling. You’re spending your time, money, and energy on sightseeing, meeting new people and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
However, the heightened stress you incur while traveling may make you more likely to suffer from health issues while you are away from home. This doesn’t mean you should avoid travel altogether — it just means you have to manage your health abroad.
Proactively managing your health abroad will also allow you to focus on all the fun you’re having.
You won’t have to worry about finding the nearest doctor’s office or understanding your insurance details on the fly if you take care of everything beforehand.
Dental health is the last thing you want to worry about while traveling.
But, as with all things in life, you can’t decide when to have a toothache or root infection.
Fortunately, a little self-care and a preventative trip to the dentist can ensure that you lay back and sip on that sugary cocktail with complete peace of mind.
Before your trip, book an appointment with your dentist.
You should do this at least a month before your vacation so you have time to take care of any issues that may arise.
Let your dentist know that you’re looking out for any issues that could flare up during your travel plans. This will help them schedule you for any necessary treatment and give you time to recover.
You should practice good oral health habits at home beforehand.
Eliminating the bacteria in your mouth can lead to good oral health and reduced risk of serious illness, such as cardiovascular disease.
Left untreated, the bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and cause respiratory infections, blood issues, and kidney disease.
As a minimum, ensure that you brush your teeth twice a day, avoid excessive amounts of sugar before your trip, limit your alcohol consumption, and try to give up smoking.
These lifestyle changes can help prevent cavities from forming and minimize your risk of developing acute oral conditions that derail your travel plans.
It’s important to set your trip up for success by packing with intention.
Doing this step with care may save you from aggravation down the line. This isn’t just true of light layers and extra socks, your oral care needs require forethought, too.
Specialized travel-size items can be difficult to find abroad, particularly in places where you don’t speak the language.
If you have unique oral care preferences like sensitive formula toothpaste or charcoal whitening powder, give yourself plenty of time to find travel-size versions of these products before your departure day.
This way, your vacation won’t be wasted typing a toothpaste label into google translate to see if it’s a good match for your needs.
You probably take your eye health for granted. Even if you have glasses, you likely aren’t too worried about acute eye conditions.
However, the extra stress of travel and changes in climate may mean that you start to experience dry eye while on your trip.
Dry eye occurs when you experience redness, burning, or light sensitivity. Usually, this happens because your eye is unable to properly lubricate itself.
There are many different causes of dry eye, and seeing an eye doctor is essential to get the treatment you need before hitting the road.
If you suspect that you might have dry-eye symptoms, check in with your optometrist before you travel.
They’ll be able to prescribe relevant treatment to you based on your symptoms. This may mean you need to take steroid drops from time to time during your travels, but a few drops now and then are far better than struggling to see the sights.
The circulatory system is a catch-all term that refers to the interconnected network of your veins, heart, blood, and arteries. A healthy circulatory system ensures that you’re fit enough to walk, hike, bike, and travel with ease and comfort.
When you travel, you place more stress on your circulatory system. Running for flights, checking into your hotel, and hauling your luggage are sure to get your heart rate up and demand more from your body.
Flying can place greater stress on your circulatory system.
Sitting for prolonged periods — as you do during a long flight — is a risk factor associated with varicose veins.
A fear of flying may also get your heart racing, which places greater stress on the body and your heart.
You can ensure that your circulatory system is up for the challenge of travel by getting in shape a little before you go on vacation.
This will help you feel beach-bod ready and minimize your risk of suffering from acute cardiovascular health conditions.
You don’t have to become a marathon runner, either.
Regular, gentle exercise is a perfect way to get ready for travel. You might consider:
- Brisk, long walks;
- Fitness classes (spin, Pilates, and BODYPUMP);
- Couch to 5K programs.
Keeping up with regular exercise regimes can also reduce your chance of developing some illnesses and improve the strength of your immune system.
Illness and COVID-19
Travel restrictions around the world are in constant flux.
More of the world is getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but new strains do threaten certain vulnerable populations.
As a health-conscious traveler, the last thing you want to do is bring COVID (or any other illness) with you when you travel.
Even if a negative test is no longer required, it may be worth testing yourself for COVID-19 before your trip.
If you’re planning international travel, apply some common sense and self-isolate as you see fit before your travel date.
You may also need further health documentation to travel across borders, so check with your particular travel destination.
COVID-19 isn’t the only illness you need to watch out for while traveling.
Sandy white beaches and tequila on tap might sound like a dream vacation, but cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis are more common diseases in sunny destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean.
You can protect against these illnesses by getting vaccinated and avoiding restaurants that don’t seem to meet your hygiene standards.
You must also understand your insurance options long before you board a plane.
Purchasing international travel insurance gives you peace of mind and ensures that you can get the help you need when you need it. This can be useful for major emergencies that arise or minor instances such as lost baggage.
Managing your health while traveling abroad requires a little planning and preparation.
Visit your dentist and optometrist long before your travel date to get the treatment you may need.
You should also get fully vaccinated before the date of departure to avoid picking up illnesses that may be rare where you’re from.
If you have the time, try to work on improving your circulatory health. A strong circulatory system can help you manage stress, decrease your risk of acute illness, and help you look your best when you make it to your final destination.
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