Travel Healthy!

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There is nothing like planning a special trip with your loved ones for several months, and just as your wintry feet finally hit the warm sand, along comes a sneeze. Unfortunately, a weakened immune system is a common, unwelcome side effect associated with travel.

In the United States alone, more than 2.5 million passengers board a plane each day. Due to so many people being cycled in and out of that small space, the recycled air and the jet lag, immune systems are often compromised. Here are a few tips, tricks and reminders to avoid bugs and keep your immune system in top shape when traveling, so you can remain healthy and happy on your next adventure.

Stay Hydrated
Traveling begins at the airport; recognize that the recycled air in an airplane is particularly dehydrating. Taking the time to drink sufficient water before you ascend into the air is important. Also, continuing to drink that level of water to stay hydrated throughout the trip is absolutely critical to keeping your immune system strong for your planned and unplanned adventures.

Sanitize Surfaces
The airplane’s cleanliness is not something many of us want to think about before we board a flight, but it’s typically the first point of travel contact, and it’s an unsanitary one. Be prepared with sanitizing wipes and clean off as many surfaces as possible, most importantly, the arm rests and tray table. The buckle is a good one also, along with any hard surface you can wipe down. Beyond the seat on the airplane, the wipes will come in handy on your journey and at your destination, so keep them on your person at all times.

Doctor Visit
Before leaving on an adventure, it is important to be up to date on your shots. It is especially critical to see your doctor and get vaccinations for your trip if you are traveling to an area where you are at risk of picking up a serious illness such as malaria. Before you go to the doctor, you can do a little personal research on the CDC website for recommendations for vaccines according to your travel destination.

Walk Around Periodically
While traveling, there will be transportation periods during which you will be sitting for a long time. Whether it’s in an airplane, car or tour bus, if you are sitting, you need to stretch out your legs from 90-degree angles, stand up and walk around every hour as a preventive measure for blood clots as well as muscle soreness. It is critical to keep your body and blood flow moving between destinations; deep vein thrombosis is a serious potential complication for travelers.

Get Plenty of Sleep
Depending on where you are traveling, it is likely that you will be in a different time zone. Due to that change in time, your entire body clock can feel off. It is absolutely imperative that sleep is made a priority while you’re traveling. Getting at least eight hours and going to sleep at a reasonable time will help your immune system stay strong.

Maintain an Exercise Routine
Traveling does not mean taking a vacation from being active. Keeping up with at least a moderate workout is an important tool for supporting your health and wellness. Make a little extra room in your suitcase for your workout clothes and hit the hotel gym before your planned excursions for the day. If you have a full day of sightseeing and will be walking several miles, you might choose to skip that day, but making time for movement when you are able will keep your system balanced.

Maintain Consistent Food Choices
A common joy that comes with travel is exploring the local food delicacies. Being adventurous with your palate is great, but be sure to keep within your usual diet as closely as possible. If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables every day, try to incorporate that in your diet while traveling; don’t go from just salads to just meat every day. Find a balance.

Don’t let stress get to you. Traveling can come with a lot of stresses, such as managing people, time and new situations. That mental stress can translate to body stress. Do not let fear of flying, getting through security, or worrying about time take a toll on you physically. Travel is supposed to mean relaxation time, so don’t let yourself be at a greater risk for illness due to common travel stresses.

These tips, tricks, and reminders will help you stay healthy while traveling. Keep that immune system strong through exercise, hydration and basic medical preventives, and, most importantly, from doing your best to stay relaxed so you can enjoy the purpose for the travel: a little R & R! ■

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