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Dr. Donnica's Top Tips for Healthy Travel, Part One

For the past three years, Americans have become justifiably focused on travel safety. While we often worry about external threats to our well-being, one of the most important aspects of safe travel is often overlooked: staying healthy during travel.  While security-related travel delays often damper vacation plans, unforeseen injuries or illnesses are much more likely to ruin a well-planned vacation. Advance planning insures that a healthy vacation is a happy one.

If You're Sick, Stay Home

In general, if you are healthy overall, you will be healthy on vacation. Likewise, if you are ill the day you are scheduled to leave for vacation, chances are that you won't miraculously improve when you board the airplane!  If you have a nagging cough, toothache, abdominal pain or similar complaints before your trip, seek medical attention sooner rather than later.  If you are ill on the day of departure, cancel or postpone the trip.  Purchasing travel or vacation insurance may make this option more palatable if you have non-refundable reservations or face rescheduling fees. 

Avoid Crash Diets

Vacations are great motivators in the dieting department.  If you are overweight and the prospect of looking better in a bathing suit motivates you to lose ten pounds, that's great... so long as you don't try to do it by starving yourself the week before your trip!  Not only will this not work, it may lower your resistance to infections.  Start your pre-vacation diet and exercise program as soon as you begin planning your trip. 


Most travel agents will inform you if your trip outside the United States requires vaccinations, but don't overlook getting "routine" vaccinations (the flu shot, pneumonia vaccine, or tetanus shot) for which you may be due.  If you're traveling to the southern hemisphere, for example, remember that their flu season is 6 months later than ours. 

Created: 9/27/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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