With the recent outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, it’s no surprise that most travelers are on high alert these days. Getting sick is a part of everyday life, and when you’re traveling, you’re exposed to a whole new range of parasites, germs, and environments.
It’s safe to say that the longer you’re traveling, the more likely you are to pick up a bug. Most of the time it’ll be something harmless like the common cold, but if you’re not taking the right precautions when traveling, the chances of you catching something more serious will rise.
Actively combatting the risk of falling sick in the first place is the key to minimize infection, whether you’re worried about coronavirus or just want to avoid being sick in general when you travel. Prevention is always better than a cure; the last thing you want to do is expose yourself to any more risks than absolutely necessary.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Washing your hands might sound basic – but you’d be surprised as to how many people forget it. Do you actually wash your hands after traveling on public transport? Every single time? Probably not; when you’re in a rush, you might not even give it a second thought.
But hand hygiene is essential to stop the spread of infection. The simple act of washing your hands can drastically reduce your chance of suffering from issues like vomiting, food poisoning, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, norovirus, hepatitis A, flu, and yes, even the infamous coronavirus.
While there’s no real replacement for good old soap and water, you might find it useful to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizing gel with you when you travel, so that you can keep your hands clean even if you don’t have access to running water.
Be Careful of Food Contamination
Food contamination is one of the biggest contributors to sickness problems for travelers, including diarrhea and gastrointestinal issues. If you’re not careful when it comes to the food that you eat when traveling, you may be potentially exposing yourself to E. coli, Salmonella, Entamoeba histolytica, Shigella, Giardia, Cyclospora, and a whole range of other nasty germs.
Whether you’re buying food at a restaurant, a street food vendor or cooking it yourself, you should always ensure that any food you eat is fully cooked and served piping hot.
You might think that street food won’t be the best choice for this but actually, it can be one of the best. This is because you can see right in front of you just how clean the cooking environment is, and since the food is often prepared to order there and then, you can gauge the freshness and make sure that it is cooked all the way through.
Protect Yourself with Vaccines
Vaccinations are one of the most common travel health concerns. There are no one-size-fits-all answers to all the questions that you might have about getting vaccinated before you travel, but it all comes down to one fact; if you are able to protect yourself, then you should definitely do so.
Prevention is always a much better option than a cure, and there’s little that beats a vaccine when it comes to protecting you against the risk of disease. It’s important to check well before your travel date, as certain recommended vaccines for your destination might have a few weeks’ incubation time before you are immune and safe to travel.
What you’ll need will depend on a number of factors including the vaccinations that you already have, the country or region you’re visiting, how long you’ll be traveling, and what you plan to do there, plus your personal medical history.
Prevention beats a cure every time! Keep these tips in mind and avoid getting sick on your next adventure.