Have you been feverish on the streets of Marrakech? Confined to a roadside toilet in in Colombia? Coughing your lungs out on a jungle trek in Thailand? Here is how you can prevent and cure illnesses on the road so you can actually enjoy your travels:
Long airplane rides, sightseeing in hot cities, trekking through the jungle and lazing all day at the beach are all extremely dehydrating activities. Keeping yourself hydrated on the road is one of the most important ways to maintain energy and prevent illness. Carry a large bottle of water with you wherever you go, and eat hydrating foods like cucumbers and watermelon to keep your electrolytes up. If you’re in the tropics, nothing beats the water from a fresh young coconut.
Foreign bacteria and poorly prepared food can wreak havoc on your stomach when travelling. If you don’t want to forgo sampling street food but find yourself stricken with travel sickness frequently, probiotics will be your new best friend. Probiotic supplements put healthy bacteria into your stomach to combat harmful bacteria in your environment. Your immune system will strengthen dramatically, decreasing your risk of contracting food poisoning and viruses.
Whether we are backpacking through Southeast Asia or spending a vacation in Paris, it’s not easy to eat a healthy diet on the road. However, food is fuel and if we give our bodies poor fuel they will simply not run as well. Keep your immune system up by eating fresh fruit, which is easy to find in local markets and travels well. If you are travelling in places where you do not have access to fresh salads and dark leafy greens, consider packing your own green vitamin supplements or spirulina powder to mix into your water.
Use Local Superfoods
Being in a new environment can be shocking for your system. Try using indigenous health foods designed by nature to keep you healthy in your new climate. In the tropics, young coconuts and papaya keep your stomach free of parasites, aloe vera prevents skin infection and soothes burns, and ginger boosts your immune system so that viruses do not stand a chance.
When you’re sick overseas it’s easy to immediately run for antibiotics, and in many countries they are commonly sold in pharmacies without a prescription. But while they may eliminate your symptoms in the short term, antibiotics can cause some serious long-term problems, particularly when not prescribed properly. Save antibiotics for emergencies and try some natural remedies instead. Activated charcoal pills are highly effective at clearing out bacteria caused by food- borne illness, coconut water is an excellent cure for a bladder infection, and a strong tea with ginger, honey and lemon can help to flush out a virus.
This is the most obvious yet often the most difficult piece of advice to follow. When we’re travelling we want to experience everything at full speed. We want to take the morning hike and party at the clubs at night. However, overexerting your body is not sustainable. It will give out eventually, making travel impossible. Allow your body the time it needs to rest. Trying to cram too many activities and locations into one trip is often a recipe for stress and illness. Take your time, relax and get some sleep!