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Traveling: Health Concerns

By Sara Butler

Travel is exciting, but it can also be a danger to your health. Some countries, especially developing countries, can expose you to health issues when you travel to them. That's why it's important to know how to stay healthy when you travel so the only thing you bring back with you is good memories!

Before You Leave

If you're traveling to industrialized countries such as those in Western Europe, you don't need to be as concerned about your health when traveling there. But if you're planning to hit a developing country then you really need to make a lot of plans before you leave to stay healthy.

You should:

  • Do your research - Look on sites such as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to obtain the current health information for different countries
  • Brush up on first aid - No matter where you go, it's not a bad idea to reacquaint yourself with your first aid skills
  • Get a checkup - Make sure you're in tip-top shape before you leave

When Traveling

When you set off on your adventure you should expect to come face to face with the nemesis of every traveler: traveler's diarrhea. The water supply in developing nations can cause you to become sick, so take steps to minimize your risk of contracting diseases from tainted food and water using tips such as these.

  • Boil it or peel it - If you can't boil or peel it, then you probably shouldn't eat it. Avoid fresh fruit in which you eat the skin, and salads too.
  • Eat only hot foods - This doesn't mean spicy foods, but actually foods at a hot temperature. If food has to be reheated or has been sitting for a while, give it a pass.
  • Don't do dairy - In tropical climates especially, milk may not be properly refrigerated or pasteurized, so avoid it.
  • Use probiotics - It may not be a bad idea to get some acidophilus tablets to take with you. This natural yogurt culture can help to keep your gut healthy and help you to avoid disease.

When it comes to water, you should also:

  • Disinfect, purify, or boil - Treat all water in developing countries the same by boiling or disinfecting it, unless you purchase bottled water. Also, avoid drinks with ice and use treated water to brush your teeth, too.
  • Check the seal - When you buy bottled water, make sure the seal is intact and it hasn't been opened only to be refilled with tap water
  • Stay hydrated - Even with concerns about water safety, it's still important to stay hydrated so you can stay healthy

Take special precautions for your health when you travel!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lake Forest, Calif.

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