Travel & Health – Staying healthy while travelling (part 1)
Welcome to the 1st episode of “Travel & Health” by Frenchy Travels!
This week, we gonna speak about health with our guest the Dr. Andrea L. Leschak – Founder & CEO of Wayfinder Advantage.
As the whole world has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, health is a major concern for travellers. Most countries have shut their borders and locked down their citizens, resulting in a massive stop of the tourism industry. However, this situation should resolve in the following months, here is my first question to Dr. Leschak:
What should travellers do to stay safe once the immediate risk for COVID-19 has passed?
“Staying healthy on the move can be challenging. Different time zones, flight delays, and interruptions to our daily routine can fray our nerves and lower our ability to fight infection.
While travel is a time to relax and enjoy new experiences, I caution against being overindulgent or reckless. Travellers should remember that the core principles of healthy travelling haven’t changed simply because of the recent pandemic.
Healthy travelling involves:
- Identifying your personal risk factors
- Reducing exposure to potential causes of illness
- Maintaining a strong immune system
Acknowledging this from the beginning builds the foundation of a healthy travel experience.
1. Identify your personal risk factors
My take away on identifying personal risk factors is to “know yourself”. Negative health “triggers” (i.e. events that make you more susceptible to illness) at home, do not magically go away on the road.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you “get sick” easily?
- Have you been diagnosed with a chronic illness?
- Do you have a weakened immune system because of a history of cancer, infection, or organ transplant?
- Are you pregnant?
This is not a complete list but if you answer yes to any of these questions you might be more at risk for illness in general.
A pre-travel planning session with a healthcare provider knowledgeable of travel risks can help you identify not only personal risks but also risks associated with your destination and any activities you plan to do while travelling.
The session will typically include a discussion about your basic health, allergies, routine medications, preventative therapy to limit destination-associated risks, and an immunization review, all within the context of where you plan to travel.
2. Reduce exposure to potential causes of illness
The following are generally common sense but are worth repeating.
- Wash your hands frequently – use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or hand wipes when soap and water aren’t available
- Keep your “environment” clean – e.g. disinfect high touch contact surfaces and personal items as needed
- Be careful what you eat – pay attention to how it was prepared, served, and stored
- Be aware of crowds
- Avoid people that appear to have an active illness (e.g. coughing, sneezing, fevers)
- If you feel ill, avoid contact with others – seek medical attention when needed
3. Maintain a strong immune system
A healthy immune system helps you ward off illness. Travelling may make it difficult to keep a routine or stick to healthy habits.
To boost your immune system:
- Get adequate sleep – rest as needed
- Maintain your usual level of physical activity – vacation is not the best time to begin an extreme exercise program
- Stay hydrated
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Avoid overeating “junk” food
- Limit stress
Following these steps will support your overall health and wellness.”
Information provided by Dr. Andrea L. Leschak and Wayfinder Advantage is intended for information purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice of-and an ongoing relationship with an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.
Based in the USA, Dr. Andrea L. Leschak holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is a Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist. Her career spans more than 25 years serving patients in various healthcare settings.
She launched Wayfinder Advantage in 2019. There, she helps clients develop strategies to reduce travel-related risks caused by their health and medications.
When not working, you can find her sailing or travelling the world looking for the best dive spots.