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What to Be Aware of to Avoid Getting Ill While Travelling

If you have an international trip coming up, naturally you want to avoid getting ill. Here are a few things you should avoid.

If you have an international trip coming up, naturally you want to avoid getting ill. Here are a few things you should avoid.

When you put a lot of time and money into a vacation, the last thing you want is to get ill two days in and have to head home. Getting ill when you’re trying to relax and have a good time is, in a word, frustrating.

While you will never be able to rule out illness altogether, there are things you can do to minimise the risks.

How to Avoid Getting Ill on Vacation

  • Go Easy on the Tap Water

While tap water is fine to drink in many countries, the bacteria that is found in local tap water can vary quite wildly. It’s the bacteria that tends to make travellers ill, especially if they end up drinking a lot of it. Basically, too much foreign bacteria too soon can have negative effects, so drink it in moderation and stick to majority bottled water. Don’t forget about ice and the fact that produce is washed in tap water too – something to consider.

  • Double Check Those Hotel Glasses

In theory, you should be able to trust that a hotel will hand you the keys to a room that has been thoroughly cleaned but it’s still best to take some precautions. If a glass is not wrapped in a sealed plastic bag, rinse it thoroughly or ask for a new one. You never know when a glass has been rubbed down with a dirty rag before being placed back on a counter.

  • Stay Away from Deserted Restaurants

Food poisoning can take several days out of your vacation. To avoid this, stay away from restaurants and food carts that don’t seem very busy. The rule of thumb is that if the locals are eating there and it’s continuously busy, it’s probably safe for you to eat there too. Over and above this, busier establishments have a higher food turnover, which means you are almost guaranteed fresher ingredients.

Recommended Read: How to Eat Like a Local

  • Don’t Forgo a Doctor’s Visit If You Get Very Ill

Apps such as Air Doctor make it that much easier to get in touch with a medical professional when you really need one. If you are very ill, it’s best not to try and rely on your immune system alone. Even if you feel a slight cold coming on, rather get some medication to boost your system. Leaving things to run their course can also make you more vulnerable to other infections.

  • Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Sun exposure can cause problems that are a lot worse than sunburn. Not many people realise that excess exposure to the sun is said to cause stomach issues as well as sunstroke, which could send you to the hospital. It takes less than 15 minutes to apply sunscreen and ensure you have a hat and sunglasses for the day ahead – rather be safe.

  • Always Research Your Destination

When you’re not a local, you don’t always hear about potential health risks. To avoid getting ill, make a point of researching any health risks in your destination so that you can take precautions and know what to be aware of.

  • Stay Away from Plane Seatback Pockets

When you travel by plane, you’re already exposed to an array of germs. One area of planes that hardly ever gets cleaned very thoroughly between flights is seatback pockets. It’s fine to have a read through the emergency information but try to limit your exposure to this pocket as much as possible. In fact, this goes for most surfaces in a plane – keep your hand sanitizer close by.

By being more aware of your surroundings and what you’re exposing your body to, it is possible to stay healthy and happy on your vacation.


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.