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Travel Tips - Health

Anti-Bacterial Wipes

Always have a supply of anti-bacterial wipes with you when traveling. You never know when you will encounter exotic restrooms, food stands and sticky situations while traveling.

Avoid DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which blood clots form in the legs due to poor circulation, and sitting for long periods in cramped spaces increases the risk. Iimprove circulation in flight with periodic stretching, walking, and use of compression socks.

Avoid Motion Sickness

If you are prone to motion sickness, don't read or focus on anything close up. (Listening to music often works very well, however.) Look out at the horizon if you can.

Blood Type

Know your blood type as well as the blood type for all your traveling companions before you go. Each person should carry a written copy and leave a copy with an emergency contact at home.

Chew Gum to Relieve Pressure

If you experience ear discomfort while you are flying, chewing gum can relieve the pressure.

Dangerous Water

It is generally not advised to swim in fresh water internationally. Lakes and rivers can be contaminated with infectious bacteria or protozoa that can cause illness.

Extra Toothbrush

When visiting areas where tap water is a problem, bring an extra toothbrush. First thing in the morning it's easy to forget and run your brush under the faucet - this way you can toss it and use the spare.

Eye Drops

Even if you don't normally use eye drops, they may be nice to have when traveling. Often, eyes dry out in transit or may become irritated by pollution, dust or pollen.

Health Coverage

Don't assume that Medicare will cover you internationally. You will need to supplement your coverage with additional insurance.

Heat Sensitive Medicines

For those who travel with insulin or other heat sensitive medications, there are insulated packs available to keep them at the proper temperature.


Certain vaccinations are needed for certain areas, and it's wise to consult a doctor who specializes in travel medicine for the most up-to-date recommendations. Passport Health clinic ( offers an extensive list of travel health clinics.

Keep Moist

There are solutions and ointments that you can use in-flight to keep your nasal membranes moist. This will help lower your susceptibilty to airborne viruses.

Mosquito Abatement

When traveling to tropical areas, assume you will encounter mosquitoes, and assume they will carry malaria. Items such as mosquito netting, DEET and Permethrin repellents can be life savers!

Motion Sickness Relief

In addition to motion bands (can centuries of Chinese medicine be wrong?), many travelers swear by ginger root, available in capsules at most health food stores.

Pack a First Aid Kit

If you are going to a developing country, bring a pre-packaged medical kit. When choosing the kit consider the number of companions traveling with you, the length of your trip and your specific destination.


Use Permethrin on your clothing when traveling to insect infested areas. It will bind to the fabric and repel insects. (Remember to use a topical repellant such as DEET on your skin as well.)

Prescription Drugs

When traveling outside the country, it is wise to have a letter from your doctor on official stationery, with phone and fax number, stating that it is necessary for you to have the medications that you have brought with you.


Bring along a supply of oral rehydration salts in the event that you get travelers' diarrhea. This is especially important when traveling with children.

Salt Packets

Keep those little packages of salt from in-flight meals. If you develop a sore throat on your journey, you will be able to use this nicely-packaged salt for gargling.

Sleep Sacks

Consider bringing a sleep sack on your trip for hostels, budget hotels and where the cleanliness of the bedding is questionable.

Sun Block and Insect Protection

If you need to wear both sun block and insect protection at the same time, apply the sun block first. Your skin will be protected from the sun and it will also be a nice base for the insect repellent to bond to.

Sun Protection

When applying sun block, use more than you think you need on all exposed body parts. Apply sun block at least 20 minutes prior to going out in the sun.