By Taylor Oddino
It’s finally here! The vacation you have been planning for so long. You made it through the three connecting flights and the crying baby on the last plane. Now, you’re in paradise! But wait — was that a cough? Nausea? A killer headache? This was not a part of your plans. Getting sick on vacation is not fun, but there are steps you can take to remedy your vacation — and yourself.
Before you go on your vacation, make sure you are setting yourself up for a healthy trip. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep in the days leading up to your trip. Don’t stay up late packing or figuring out last minute details. It’s also a good idea to do some research about your destination. Are there any common illnesses there? Is there an outbreak of something that you need to be aware of? This research can help you take preventative measures before your trip even begins. Or, you can always give your doctor a call and see if he or she has any tips for you. Then, when it is time to travel, wash your hands often and bring some hand sanitizer. If you end up next to someone coughing and sneezing on the plane, avoid touching your face and generously apply the sanitizer!
If you do feel a bug coming on, try to relax. Stressing will not make you feel better. It will probably make you feel worse! Staying calm and having a positive attitude really will do wonders. Try to make yourself as comfortable as possible and try to recreate a homey environment. You could bring your pillowcase from home, for example. Or do something to make your hotel more comfortable, like buy some little candles. Treat yourself and go buy your favorite sick food — whether it be chicken noodle soup or Doritos!
Eat and Drink Well
People tend to let loose on vacations and toss diets to the wayside! But it is important to maintain some level of healthy eating on vacations. Don’t deprive yourself of the wonderfulness that is vacation food, but don’t forget things like your morning banana or a handful of almonds between lunch and dinner. Fuel yourself with some good food in addition to the treats. Also, investigate where your food is coming from. For example, if you are buying something from a street vendor, ask where the food came from. Make sure meats are fresh and cooked well. Then, of course, make sure you drink plenty of clean water!
Visit a Pharmacy
Pharmacists have the knowledge to help you when you become sick. You can visit a local pharmacist for advice on how to get better or treat your symptoms. They will probably have knowledge of the local area and any local illnesses. They can help direct you to the right kind of medicine, or a doctor if you need one.
When Things Turn Worse
If you’re still not getting better, it may be time to visit a doctor or emergency room. Make sure you carry your medical insurance card with you when you are on vacation. You can call the number on your insurance card and they will be able to help you with finding a doctor or a hospital to visit. If you are in a foreign country, a useful tool is the International Society of Travel Medicine’s website. They have an online clinic directory where you can find various doctors and clinics to visit no matter where you are. You just input your city and country and the site will provide contact information.
Although you’re sick, you can still have fun! If you have a busy day planned, it might be a good idea to cut out an activity or two to give yourself a break. Try to do things that allow you to rest somewhat, like seeing a local show (whether it be a luau in Hawaii or a Broadway play in New York). Look for activities that allow you to remain fairly stationary. Another option is a guided tour where you don’t have to put forth as much effort. Seeing the city by bus would be ideal when you aren’t feeling 100%. Basking in the sun at the beach or at a pool is always a good idea too. If you’re sick, grab a good book or some local literature and enjoy room service by the pool! Call it a night early and get plenty of rest!