Summer vacation season is upon us. A trip out of town is a great way to escape from the daily grind. However, a break from our healthy routines can make us sick. Here are some tips for staying healthy on your next vacation:
Sleep – It’s tempting to get the 6:00 AM flight to arrive at your destination as soon as possible. But a late night of packing and poor sleep filled with the anxiety of missing an early flight does not start your trip on the right foot. When possible, book a flight that allows you to stick close to your normal sleep schedule, especially if you can’t sleep on the plane. There’s no point in arriving early to your destination if you are going to be exhausted when you get there. The bright morning sun or thin hotel walls can make it difficult to sleep in as much as you hoped. Bring an eye mask and earplugs to help control your environment.
Sun Protection – Apply sunscreen before going out since the sun strong can be stronger than expected. Nobody wants to be sidelined with a painful sunburn or increase their risk for skin cancer. Hats and long sleeves are another easy way to protect your skin. An afternoon siesta is a great way to avoid the sun during the hottest hours of the day. We usually spend some time indoors after lunch to relax and recharge our batteries.
Solutions – I mostly mean water but in our case, it was rehydration solution. Did I mention how strong the sun can be in hotter climates? One family trip we spent an afternoon on the beach making sand castles and playing in tide pools. Unfortunately, our water intake was not enough to keep up with our activity and time in the sun. We all ended up with heat exhaustion, which included nausea and vomiting leading to further dehydration. While we were able to nurse ourselves back to health with homemade oral rehydration solution (water with a pinch of salt and some sugar), there was a point that I thought we would all need IV fluids. On other trips, we have brought Emergen-C packets. These are convenient for travel and include vitamin C as well as electrolytes. Not sure if you are drinking enough water? Aim for half your weight in ounces as a baseline with an extra 8 ounces every 15-30 minutes in hot environments or with increased activity. It’s also a good idea to limit alcohol or have several glasses of water between drinks.
Sweets – It’s tempting to overindulge on vacation but it’s best to limit the sweets and sugary drinks. Every day we are exposed to germs but our exposure increases with air travel and crowded destinations. Too much sugar can lower your defenses by curbing immune system cells that attack bacteria. Aim instead for fresh fruits that have the added benefit of vitamins and hydration. Just make sure they are washed with safe drinking water.
Summer and vacations always seem too short. Enjoy them while they last!