Traveling comes with a
whole new set of things to think about. The following can help you stay healthy
and enjoy your trip as much as possible.
Tips for flying
Flying is not always fun. But you can take steps to
make it easier and to feel better during and after your flight.
- Pack anything that may cause problems at
security-such as gels, liquids, sharp scissors, or pocket knives-in the luggage
you plan to check. For an updated list of what is not allowed in carry-on
luggage, see the Transportation Security Administration website at
- Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that slip on and off. These are
easy to remove when you go through security at the airport. They will also be
more comfortable if your feet swell on the plane.
- Take steps to prevent dangerous blood clots during long periods of travel. Sitting still for 4 or more hours slows down the blood flow in your legs and raises your blood clot risk.
- Take steps to prevent jet lag, such as drinking plenty of liquids
and changing your sleep schedule to the new time zone.
- Sleep Problems: Dealing With Jet Lag
If you have a fear of flying, talk to your doctor. He or
she may recommend medicines, hypnosis, or
relaxation exercises to help you feel less
Water and food safety
Contaminated water and food are the most common cause of illness in
travelers. These illnesses range from an inconvenient case of travelers'
diarrhea and the
norovirus (Norwalk virus) seen on cruise ships to
It's hard to know if tap water
is properly treated, so most doctors recommend avoiding tap water if there is
any doubt. Safe beverages include drinks made with boiled water, such as tea
and coffee. Or drink only canned or bottled carbonated beverages (including
bottled water and soft drinks) and beer and wine. Ice should also be
considered contaminated and should not be used in drinks. Dry the opening of
wet cans or bottles before taking a drink. Remember not to brush your teeth
with tap water.
Travelers to backcountry areas of North America
should also take precautions with water. Even though the water in high mountain
lakes looks sparkling clear, it may be contaminated with Giardia intestinalis, the parasite that causes
giardiasis. Take simple
precautions to avoid this illness, such as boiling the
Likewise, swimming in contaminated fresh water, such as
ponds or rivers, can expose you to diseases. Even swimming pools with
inadequate chlorination pose a risk. Talk to your doctor if you plan on doing
recreational water sports-such as white-water rafting, adventure racing, or
kayaking-in tropical and backcountry regions.
with food by avoiding raw fruits (unless you wash and peel them yourself), raw
vegetables, and raw or undercooked meat and seafood. Steaming hot, well-cooked
food is usually the safest. Although tempting, don't eat food or drink from
street vendors. Make sure dairy products have been pasteurized.