Traveling can take a toll on your health, said Dr. Douglas Kaiden, medical director of Priority Private Care, an emergency care facility in New York City.
“Flying and being in new destinations makes you vulnerable to all sorts of illness and injuries,” he said. “It’s extra important to be vigilant about your health when you’re on the road.”
Before your next trip, consider his tips.
>> Be prepared: Have a supply of any basic medications you take, especially prescriptions.
It’s also a good idea to check if you need any vaccinations for your destination; check vaccines.gov. Talk to your doctor before you go.
>> Small steps for your next flight: On your flight, try to get up and stretch and take a stroll down the aisle at least every two hours. Sitting for long periods increases the risk for deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that forms in the legs from stagnant circulation. Do simple calf or leg stretches you can perform while seated.
Kaiden recommended compression socks to help boost circulation and avoid swollen feet or calves. Find them at pharmacies or online.
Also, drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol. Alcohol can act as a diuretic, while water will keep you hydrated and keep motion sickness, headaches and lightheadedness at bay.
>> Avoid intestinal woes: You should always wash fruits and vegetables before eating, but eating washed fruits and vegetables doesn’t necessarily mean they are clean. Traveler’s diarrhea is common for people who take unnecessary risks when it comes to street food, local produce or other foods that may not have been properly prepared or handled.
Kaiden said it’s better to stick to cooked vegetables and peeled fruits served from restaurants, stands or cafes you can trust. That’s not to say you should avoid street food or local produce entirely, just make sure whatever you eat is properly washed and prepared.
Watch how the cooks at that night market stall handle their ingredients for a bit before you decide to buy. Similarly, see how popular a produce stand is before buying.
If they turn over a lot of fruit, you are likely not getting food that’s been sitting out under the hot sun for hours at a time.
>> Keep your doctor on speed dial: It is important to be able to reach your doctors back at home in case of an emergency. They may be able to help you remotely.