Body Health: Tips for Safe and Healthy Travel

by Jennifer Roehrs, D.O.

The last thing you want to think about during a trip is getting sick or injured. Unfortunately, sometimes these things happen. You may not be able to prevent illness or injury, but you’ll be able to deal with them much better if you plan ahead.

Here are some tips to keep in mind before hitting the road.

Pack smart.

Use this checklist to prepare for your next trip. It’s important to bring items with you that cannot be guaranteed to be available at your destination.

  • Prescription medications and medical supplies such as glasses, contacts, diabetic supplies and EpiPens. 
  • Over-the-counter medications. Some suggestions include diarrhea medicine, pain and fever reducers, decongestants and mild laxatives. 
  • Don’t forget items to prevent illness and injury. Things like insect repellent, sunscreen and hand sanitizer. 
  • First-aid supplies including bandages, hydrocortisone cream and antibacterial ointments.
  • Bring along important medical and emergency contact information. It’s helpful to include your insurance card, contact information for your primary health care provider back home and emergency contact information.

Drink a lot of water.

Staying hydrated is incredibly important for healthy travel, especially when flying. Sometimes in the excitement of a new place, it’s easy to forget to drink as much water as you’re used to. Make sure to carry along a water bottle so that hydration stays top of mind.

Get enough sleep.

Your body needs rest when you’re traveling. You can quickly wear yourself out carrying luggage to and from destinations, walking all day and especially if you’re crossing time zones.  Traveling can be harsh on your body, so it’s important to get plenty of rest. Listen to your body and rest when you need it. 

Eat healthy.

A strong immune system is a powerful way to prevent travel-related sickness, and a healthy diet is the foundation of a strong immune system. Pack healthy travel snacks such as fruits, nuts and vegetables. Plan ahead—know your food options before getting to your destination so that you can stick to your normal eating routine as much as possible. 

Board certified family medicine physician Jennifer Roehrs, D.O., practices at FirstHealth Primary Care in Sanford. Dr. Roehrs cares for patients of all ages, from newborns to senior adults. Dr. Roehrs earned a B.A., in biology and chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and a D.O. in medicine from A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri.  She completed a residency with Via Christi Family Medicine Residency in Kansas and is a fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.