Staying healthy while traveling is essential to enjoying your trip. With the current outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, healthy practices are now more important than ever. While the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend avoiding specific areas that are heavily affected by the virus, outside of those areas the CDC does not recommend limiting travel for healthy individuals. It is important to note that preventative actions are recommended for all travelers. One of the best preventative actions is to stay informed. For CDC travel-specific information and alerts, click here.
The following actions can also help prevent the spread of respiratory disease, at home and while traveling:
- First and foremost, if you are sick before your trip, don’t travel!
- Stay away from people who are sick. If someone is coughing or sneezing near you, move away if you can.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially in public places (the average person touches their face more than 15 times an hour).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. If you are flying on an airplane, this includes your seating area, armrests, and tray table. Wet wipes are a great addition to your travel kit!
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. For information about proper handwashing technique, see the CDC’s Handwashing page.
Please note that the CDC does NOT recommend the use of face masks by healthy travelers to prevent respiratory disease (though if you do begin to experience illness symptoms, wearing a mask may help prevent you from spreading the illness to others).
Just in case the above measures fall short and you do get sick, there are some over the counter items we’ve found that can be very useful (of course, discuss these and other medicines first with your doctor—we aren’t doctors!—and if you think you are having an emergency, go to the hospital).
There currently is no “cure” for Covid-19 coronavirus, but symptom relief items may be helpful. There’s plenty more that could be carried, but these items are all small and easily packable:
- A good first aid kit, with a digital thermometer.
- Over-the-counter pain and fever reliever, such as Tylenol.
- Powdered cold/flu remedy to soothe the throat, calm a cough, and relieve congestion.
- Benadryl, which has many uses for allergic reactions.
- Anti-diarrheal medicine, especially for when you need to keep moving.
- Pedialyte or similar powdered electrolyte mix to aid in rehydration.
- Pepto-Bismol, for upset stomach and to aid in cases of food poisoning.
Finally, a last word on preparation before your trip. Consider these tips from Culinary Nutrition Expert (and Andy’s amazing wife!) Nancy Williams to boost your immunity and increase the odds of feeling your best during travel—and every day!
- Choose foods high in Vitamins B (eggs, fish, chicken, mushrooms, lentils, nuts) and C (citrus fruits, broccoli, dark leafy greens, berries, bell peppers). Pair them with ingredients found to be particularly essential for optimal immune function, such as garlic, onions, ginger, thyme, parsley, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
- Limit sugar and highly processed foods, as these can cause inflammation, leaving you susceptible to viral, bacterial, and parasitic invaders. Once at your destination, keep your blood sugar balanced by eating some protein or healthy fat along with carbs and sugar. This is especially important at breakfast, as it may determine your energy level throughout the day. Having pancakes and maple syrup? Try sprinkling a handful of walnuts or almonds on top. Enjoying some tropical fruit? Add some full-fat yogurt or goat’s cheese.
- Consider supplementing your diet with a broad-spectrum probiotic. This will greatly support your digestive system in fighting off pathogens and bacteria. Ideally, you should take these before and during your trip. For a complete rundown on essential travel supplements, check out this excellent summary.
- Hydrate and rehydrate! Don’t wait until you are on the plane. Start way ahead by consuming 8-10 8 oz. glasses of pure water per day. It’s also a good time to reduce or remove alcohol and caffeine from your diet, especially if your trip involves many hours on an airplane. If you do have that cocktail, remember to offset its dehydrating effects with extra water.
- Prepare your body and your soul for take off! Don’t let “prepping for that trip” take precedence over things you know to keep you totally fit. Make sure you get enough sleep. Do some stretching or take a walk. Take time to meditate, read a good book, or enjoy your favorite music.
Adopting these simple tips can help ensure that memories of your trip will be of how it exceeded your expectations, not of time wasted recovering from unplanned for health concerns.”
Well, there you have it. Safe and healthy travels to all!