How to Combat Common Travel Illnesses

March 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News & Tips

Imagine planning your vacation for weeks or maybe months and the date is fast approaching. Everyone in the family is ramped up and ready to go and then just before takeoff or just after, someone falls ill. Family vacations are typically a great experience; however, the fun can be cut short if a family member falls ill.

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Traveling while feeling sick is one of the worst feelings you can experience especially when you’re on a vacation where you should be having the time of your life. It is never fun when someone gets sick on a trip, but you can help to avoid sickness before it happens. If an illness has already occurred, have no fear – they can usually be treated without a trip to the emergency room or doctor.

Common travel illnesses that can occur are diarrhea, heat exhaustion, earaches and altitude sickness. Depending upon your location, bug bites can lead to infections as well. These illnesses can all be minimized or avoided altogether with the proper course of treatment.

* If you travel to an unknown area, especially outside of the country, stick to bottled water. You can never be sure how well treated another country’s water is. Untreated water can harvest harmful bacteria that can cause diarrhea or upset stomachs. Parasites can be transmitted through untreated water as well. If you are unsure, stick to bottled water and you can rest easy at night. Be cautious of taking ice in your drinks and consider using bottled water for simple tasks such as brushing your teeth.

* If you’re going to be in an environment with high temperatures, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid heat exhaustion. Be cautious of symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, or nausea. If you experience heat exhaustion, seek a cool place and drink cool fluids. Seek medical treatment if symptoms do not subside.

* High altitudes on planes can cause a variety of symptoms such as earaches due to the pressure and sickness, especially if there is a lot of turbulence. Some people do not fare well in high altitudes and may require oxygen. Children are especially prone to symptoms such as earaches and altitude sickness.

For small children, drinking out of a bottle or breastfeeding on take off and landing will typically ease the ear popping as swallowing tends to relieve the pressure. Older children can be taught how to relieve pressure in their ears accordingly.

* In tropical lands, bugs are rampant due to the humid environment. When visiting tropical lands, you can be sure that you and your family will encounter bugs that you have never seen before. There is no way of knowing which bugs can be toxic or carry viruses. Mosquitoes are known for transmitting the West Nile Virus; however, not all mosquitoes are carriers.

To prevent being eaten alive, guard yourself with bug spray for you and your entire family. There are certain natural elements that you can use to ward off bugs outside such as using fresh cut lemons to repel mosquitoes. Replenish the bug spray as often as necessary.

Traveling is a great way for families to have fun together. However, with fun can also come illnesses. If you are visiting a distant land where you are unsure of the water quality, stick to bottled water to avoid any bacteria or parasites. Altitude on planes can be a real problem, especially for small children who do not know how to relieve ear pressure. The problem can be solved by simply offering a bottle or breastfeeding on take off and landing. Drink plenty of fluids in high temperatures to avoid heat exhaustion.

Finally, bugs thrive in humid, tropical climates. If you are visiting a tropical climate where bugs can carry viruses, be sure to protect your family with bug spray.

Oftentimes illness is not a factor in family vacations, but it is helpful to know how to treat and prevent illnesses in the case they do present.

Presented by:
Sima Kimble

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