By Kelly Kilpatrick
Guest Writer for HealthDesigns
If you're like me, your life is probably like clockwork -- your schedule revolves around work and family, with a little time thrown in for personal pleasures and hobbies. And that's why holidays are so appealing to us: they're a break from the mundane routines we follow day in and day out and a chance to celebrate with family and friends.
But if there's one thing that rains on our holiday parade, it's illness. No matter who falls sick, the holiday can be ruined for the entire family, especially when the holiday is spent traveling, for a vacation or to visit family and friends who don't live nearby. Your time is spent shuttling between doctors and pharmacies, to either see the doctor yourself or to sit in the lobby and wait for the patient to recover so you can get back home.
It's been said time and again that prevention is better than cure, but we don't seem to put much store by it. Why else do people still refuse to spend the minimum amount on health care for their family before they travel for the holidays?
So if you're planning travel anytime soon now that the new year has started, here's what you can do to make sure no one around you falls sick:
- If you're traveling to another country, especially one not known for sanitary conditions, ensure that you're vaccinated against diseases that are prevalent in the region.
- Do not drink water that is not bottled or eat at hotels that are unhygienic.
- Make sure you take a first aid kit with essentials such as medicines for common colds, fevers, headaches, sunburns, diarrhea, motion sickness, jetlag, insect bites, allergies, hangovers, and minor cuts and scrapes.
- Protect yourself with appropriate clothing -- if it's cold, make sure you bundle up, and if it's hot, keep sunstroke and sunburn away with large hats and full-sleeved shirts.
- Don't eat food that's too spicy if your constitution is not used to the same; you may be affected by vomiting, an upset stomach, or diarrhea.
- Don't eat food that's stale or that's been left without refrigeration for a long time, especially if you're in a hot climate where food spoils quickly.
- If jetlag tends to get you down, book flights that reach your destination in the evening or at night so you can sleep it off and begin your vacation refreshed.
- Don't overeat at parties, even if the food is delicious. You'll regret it when you keep throwing up all the next day.
- Don't drink too much, for the same reason as above, and also the massive hangover that will dog you for a day.
- Never drink and drive, both at home and on vacation.
- Drink plenty of water so you stay hydrated all the time, especially when you're out walking in the sun for a long time. If you're going to a warmer climate, you'll sweat more, so you need to drink more water than you normally do.
- Get enough sleep to prevent exhaustion from making you ill.
*This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of nursing skills. She invites your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.