As the saying goes, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. But because we’re getting exposed to many new experiences, many things can happen to our bodies when we travel. A different climate, cuisine, and timezone are just a few things about a foreign location that can upset our bodies – to say nothing of the area’s viral diseases. Ideally, if you have any major medical concerns, you should consult your doctor before finalizing any travel plans. Here are some health checks you need to do before setting out to travel.
Get vaccinated at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Check the CDC’s website to find out which vaccines you might need or consult your physician. The CDC’s website also has a list of viral diseases you may contract while traveling based on your destinations.
Have your ears checked
All it takes for your ears to “pop” is an imbalance of air pressure. This happens on airplanes, where altitude changes radically, and even on road trips where you drive through drastically different altitudes. This is called barotrauma. It’s normal, but its impact can differ from person to person. For example, people with chronic problems in their ears and nose might experience more severe manifestations. Their ears not only experience pressure imbalance but also hurt. Children are also more prone to this because their ear canals are not yet fully grown, and therefore their ears have more difficulty adjusting to changes in air pressure.
Wax accumulation can also aggravate this, so it’s a good idea to go for a micro-suction before your trip. Barotrauma can also cause or aggravate vertigo, which can cause nausea, so you’ll want to do your best to minimize your risks of barotrauma.
Bring your medications
It should be a no-brainer to bring your prescription medications with you on your trip. But there are other medications you’ll need to bring too. Bring your allergy medications because you might unknowingly eat or be exposed to something abroad that you’re allergic to.
In case you – or perhaps any of your travel companions – are prone to motion sickness, it’s a good idea to bring medications for treating it just in case. These can be antihistamines, Marezine, or Dramamine. Be sure to read the labels for dosage recommendations and possible side effects. Antihistamines normally cause drowsiness. Children should not take them as they are more vulnerable to having severe reactions to them – either sleepiness or hyperactivity.
Stay hydrated, making sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Pop a lozenge into your mouth.
Prepare for vacation constipation
This is a known reaction your body can have to travel. Vacation constipation can be caused by many different factors – lack of movement, different time zones, vacation diets, stress, and inability to relax in a foreign bathroom. The best way to prevent this is to stay hydrated and remember to incorporate more stool softeners such as fruits and vegetables into your diet. You can also pack bulk-forming laxatives – these take about 2 to 3 days after intake to take effect.
Go for a post-travel checkup
A health check-up post-trip is just as important as a pre-travel check-up. Many travelers report feeling under the weather when they return from a trip. Many cases of post-travel fevers are related to malaria. They could also be exhaustion and jet lag symptoms, but it’s important to check with your doctor just in case. A medical check-up will also determine whether you’ve contracted other diseases so you can be treated for them.
Traveling is always exciting, but sometimes your body can have bad reactions to new places and situations. The stress of adjusting to a new timezone, climate, and cuisine could also negatively impact your body. At worst, you could contract a disease while abroad. To keep these things from happening, consult with your physician before your trip and get the necessary vaccinations and treatments. Make sure to bring the necessary medications with you on your trip and stay hydrated.