How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
As millions of Americans continue to get newly vaccinated each day for COVID-19, travel is starting to pick back up. Many travelers across the country are making up for lost time and planning group and family vacations this spring. These next few months promise to be a busy season for road-trippers and jet-setters alike.
Right now, the CDC advises that people who are fully vaccinated can travel safely throughout the United States, without needing testing or self-quarantining. However, social distance guidelines and mask-wearing are still encouraged or required while traveling.
For travelers who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated, the CDC is still recommending to postpone trips until receiving the full COVID-19 vaccine.
As Americans start to achieve a sense of normalcy, it also means they’ll need to be on the lookout for old, familiar travel bugs and viruses. There’s no worse way to spoil your much-deserved getaway than by getting sick on your way to your destination. Read: a cold, sinus infection, or the dreaded summer flu.
But here’s the good news: getting sick is preventable. You can take precautions to keep those sniffles and coughs at bay. Here are some tips for staying healthy and germ-free while traveling.
Get up-to-date on your vaccines
First things first, before you travel, make sure you’re up to date on all your shots and vaccines. Every Friday health plan comes with access to a wide-range of vaccines to help keep you in ship-shape year-round. You can get these done at your physician’s office or through a Friday-covered pharmacy here.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (flu shot)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
Wear a mask and follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others around you is by following social distancing guidelines. This includes wearing a mask in public and avoiding touching your face. If you're flying, be sure to wear your mask throughout and be safe by carrying disinfectant wipes and cleaning off your seat and tray table before you sit down.
COVID-19 guidelines currently vary from state to state. So, ahead of your trip, it’s also a good idea to understand the local rules and restrictions. This will ensure you and your family are comfortable and well-prepared once you arrive.
Eat and drink like you normally would
Traveling disrupts our natural eating habits. We replace meals with snacks. Real food with junk food. Water with soda and sugary drinks. There’s something about traveling -- about sitting in the stale airport or train terminal, where your food options are limited -- that leads to passing the time with comfort food.
Our advice? Keep your immune system strong by sticking to your normal, healthy eating habits.
An almost certain way to ruin your flight is an upset stomach caused by salty and sweet airline food. And with the number of germs at the airport -- where you’re 20 percent more likely to catch a common cold -- you’re potentially exposing yourself to viruses by eating with your hands and licking your fingers.
For water, consider bringing your own filtered water bottle. Hold off on those sweet, caffeinated, or alcoholic drinks until you reach your destination.
Bolster your immune system before traveling
A few days before traveling, consider taking some extra supplements to fight off germs and infection. Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins will help arm your immune system and keep your defenses in check.
For the day of small packets of powdered drink mix (like Emergen-C and Airborne) will help you stay hydrated, provide electrolytes, and boost your immune system with vitamin C. A bottle of hand sanitizer or cleansing wipes will keep your hands clean, as well as your surroundings.
Lastly, if you’re going to experience a time change when you land, try adjusting your sleep pattern a few days before your flight. Try adjusting an hour each night to get closer to your destination time zone.
What to avoid during your travels
Maybe the most valuable advice to offer about staying healthy while traveling is a list of what to avoid when you’re in transit:
- Caffeinated drinks and alcohol (as previously mentioned)
- Airplane issued blankets, pillows, and headphones (which may carry pathogens from previous passengers)
- Airplane tap water (the Environmental Protection Agency discovered 1 out of 7 planes used tap water that did not meet federal standards)
If you do get sick, there’s always Teladoc
Teladoc is the easiest and fastest way to get remote care from a medical professional for non-emergency illnesses like the flu. Best of all? You can use Teladoc while traveling in most states (but not internationally).
As a benefit with every Friday health plan, you can speak to a doctor online or over the phone for a $0 flat fee. Access Teladoc by visiting their website here: Teladoc.
As always, if you have questions about your plan, benefits, or services, please reach out to our friendly Friday Care Crew at this page here.