Ways to Stay Healthy When Traveling Abroad

When traveling abroad, consider and address any health situations before heading to faraway destinations. Being aware, taking precautions, and being ready, can make a significant difference in your state of health.

Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment

Image via Flickr by AngelHainesPhotography

Image via Flickr by AngelHainesPhotography
Allow plenty of time for both a medical and dental check-up before traveling. You may need vaccinations before entering a particular country from your physician. And, you want any potential dental problems addressed by your dentist before heading out of the country. Get your medications filled, and bring along any other prescriptions that may need to be refilled for medical, dental, or vision concerns. Check with your insurance provider for information about coverage while you’re away.

Be Active

Whether traveling by plane or switching to train travel upon arrival, being active and keeping your body in motion during long stationary periods is important to your health. When flying for long periods, keep the blood flowing and prevent leg cramps by tapping your feet and contracting your calf muscles. Both actions cause the venous blood to move from the lower body to the heart. For extended train travel, stay active and move around as much as possible.

Be Prepared

Do your research before leaving home. Check travel warnings with the State Department and sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive travel warnings and alerts. You’ll be made aware of any potential issues, such as medical outbreaks; severe weather including hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding; or other natural occurrences that may affect the health and safety of travelers. Knowing what lies ahead before flying or cruising to your locale allows you to prepare ahead of time.

Health Items to Pack

Pack a mini-health kit to include extra doses of any prescribed medication, gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, nasal or allergy medication, and if necessary, sterile syringes. Bring a note from your doctor on letterhead validating your need for specific prescribed drugs. Have a copy of the note in the language of your travel destination. Include any documents for medical equipment you may need to bring for airport security. Pack a list containing names, addresses, and contact numbers for family or friends in case of an emergency, your insurance company with policy or identification number, and the number and location of the local embassy.

Health Tips upon Arrival

Always practice good health no matter where you travel. Stay alert and avoid areas that may be experiencing health related issues. Be aware of the cleanliness and sanitary conditions wherever you eat or drink. If you need to see a doctor, observe the medical staff and don’t be afraid to ask questions especially about the sterilization process for injections and equipment. With the possibility of transmission of bodily fluids by doctors and nurses, be sure personnel use gloves to prevent infecting you with a contagious disease.

Continue your good health practices upon returning home by scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor, as soon as possible, to make sure all is well. If you haven’t experienced any illness while traveling but begin to feel ill once you return home, seek medical help immediately.