Avoiding Illness on Vacation

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Avoiding illness on vacationIt’s a parent’s nightmare: You save for months, spend hours planning and tie up a zillion loose ends before going on vacation. Then on the second day of your trip, your child comes down with an illness. While it’s impossible to avoid sickness altogether, travelers can adopt strategies for avoiding illness on vacation.

Know the risk factors that expose you to germs – often germs you don’t encounter at home – and minimize them. While children’s immune systems usually aren’t as strong as adults’, you can reduce losing time to illness while you’re on vacation by:

  • Wash your hands: It’s always good advice, but frequently washing your hands while on the road is extra important. While bottles of sanitizer are a good backup, they don’t replace soap and water. Wash frequently, wash often.
  • Change clothes after air travel: Airplanes are an incubator for germs, and avoiding exposure to your fellow travellers’ germs is difficult. Minimize your family’s risk by bathing and changing into fresh clothes as soon as you’re in your hotel room.
  • Drink bottled water: When traveling abroad, particularly to Mexico or Latin America, avoid tap water, which can contain bacteria that causes stomach problems. Be wary of drinks that contain ice as well, as they’re often made with tap water.
  • Don’t overdo it: Getting ready for a vacation can be stressful, with last-minute to-dos, late nights and hurried trips to the airport. Likewise, it’s easy to want to cram as much as possible into each day. That’s a great way to weaken immune systems. Avoid overextending yourself or your kids before or during your trip.
  • Consult your doctor: Are you headed to an exotic locale? Talk with your doctor about precautions and other strategies based upon your destination.

Avoiding illness on vacation does require a bit of luck in avoiding being exposed to germs. That doesn’t mean you can’t stack the deck in your favor and adopt habits that extend your chances of staying healthy.