thermometer with pills and MicVinny logo

How To Successfully Handle Being Sick While Traveling

When you go to the grocery store, you can see cashiers blowing their noise.

“I’ll make sure I wash my hands right away…..”

You walk around the office and you start to hear a chorus of sniffles.

“I got hand sanitizer at my desk, I’ll avoid it…..”

You get on a flight. As the airplane door closes, you turn to greet the person sitting next to, when all of a sudden they burst into coughing.

“Oh Oh…..”

There’s no escaping it…..you’re going to get sick!

No matter how much we try to prevent it from occurring, it’ll inevitable show up when we least expect it.

There’s nothing worse than being on a trip and becoming sick. That first moment when you have your first big sneeze and sore throat, you know your trip is about to take a turn for the worse!

We’ve all experienced being sick while traveling at one time or another in our lives. Here’s some tips on how to quickly handle the situation.

Pack a Travel Medical Kit

Whenever you travel you should always pack a travel first aid kit. Especially if you travel international quite often. You never knew what medical supplies your destination will have available, so it’s always best to be prepared.

A basic first aid kit should at least contain:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Ace bandage
  • Antiseptic
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Anti-fungal and antibacterial ointments or creams

Basic first aid kits normally do not include medicines. That is why you need to add the following to a basic travel kit:

  • Cold & Flu medicine (pill/gel form is easier to carry)
  • Upset stomach medicine (ie: Pepto Bismul, Antiacid pills)
  • Aspirin/anti-inflammation medicine
  • Anti-diarrheal medicine
  • Laxative
  • Cough suppressant and/or cough drops
  • Antihistamine
  • Sedative and/or sleep aid
  • Water purification tablets

You can find basic first-aid kits in the first aid sections of most drug stores. Use that as your base and add more medicine to it to personalize it for your needs.

If you fly business class or first class internationally, just repurpose one of their free amenity bags into a travel medical kit.

Airline business class amenity bag

Having this travel medical kit is a vital step in making sure your illness doesn’t get worse. It will allow reliable relief no matter where you travel.

Rest and Recover

Don’t be ashamed of feeling tired while sick & traveling. Lack of rest is a major reason why infections spread in the first place. The more sleep we get, the healthier our bodies become due to it being able to heal itself properly.

Don’t try to stay up super late, go to bed early when sick!

Eat When Hungry

Should you feed a cold and starve the flu?

That debate has been around for decades. The sad truth is that there is no definitive answer. It’s just a “it depends”.

What you need to do is eat when hungry. Being sick is not the time to be counting calories. If your body is hungry, it’s ok to satisfy it while sick. That’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s undernourish and requires refilling to battle the cold or flu inside.

Try to pick healthier options but don’t beat yourself if you stray a little bit from your normal healthy diet routine. Having noodles in your chicken soup isn’t going to kill you!

For some good advice on what to eat when sick, check out this infographic chart from Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition:

Precision Nutrition's infographic on what foods you should be eating while sick
Infographic is courtesy of Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition

Listen To Your Body

There’s a reason why having a healthy exercise program and a good diet is vital to your long term success. If you’re not eating properly it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to get sick. Our bodies was not designed to have the wrong nutrients in them daily.

Whenever you overdue excess fats and junk food consistently, your body’s immune system becomes weaker. A weak immune system makes it easier for you to become sick.

The same thing happens when you under eat. If you’re not eating enough, your body will begin to break down and being sickly is one of those breakdowns.

Keep that in mind while you live your life. It’s a great reminder of why you should be eating and exercising in a healthy way. You will start thinking twice about eating at that shady looking fast food joint during your travels!

Exercise With Caution

In addition to the “Feed a cold, starve a flu” mantra, rumors state that you should sweat a cold out. That saying just means that you should exercise as much as possible to get the cold out your system.

Again, it’s not as clear cut as it can appear. Here’s another great infographic from Precision Nutrition breaking down whether or not you should exercise. Use this as a guideline to determine what type of exercise you should be doing based on how you are feeling.

Precision Nutrition's chart explaining what exercises you should do when sick
Infographic is courtesy of Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition