Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to Avoid Being Sick Abroad

I apologize for being absent over the last few days. But let me explain why.

I've been quite sick for two and days now. And seeing as how I've actually had some form of illness throughout the last 7 weeks (yes, you read that right... it says seven weeks) I've decided to share with all of you ways to avoid making the mistakes I've made and therefore avoid extended periods of sickness.

My most recent illness has consisted of a high fever. It's probably been the least fun illness to date this semester. Over the last 7 weeks, I've had various cold symptoms or congestion, but no fever. So I was less than thrilled to find myself coming down with one on the way back from Naples on Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, if you're looking to not be like me, here are some easy steps to follow.

1.) Wash your hands, and wash them often. This is pretty common sense, but at the same time, it's easy to forget while traveling a lot and often. Sometimes it's difficult to wash your hands while traveling, as well, because there isn't soap in public bathrooms or you have to go somewhere that technically isn't a bathroom. That's why, if you can't wash your hands with soap and water, at least carry hand sanitizer with you. Which leads me to number 2.

2.) Carry hand sanitizer, but only use it when necessary. Hand sanitizer is great, but don't get carried away with it. And make sure it's more than 60% alcohol. Anything less won't do you any good.

3.) If you're on a long trip, bring two extra tooth brushes. That way, if you do get sick, you can throw your old tooth brush away and use one of the new ones to avoid getting yourself sick again, or getting someone else sick.

4.) Get plenty of sleep. While it's important to make memories and go out with friends for dinners, events and parties, it's also just as important to get plenty of sleep. Don't sacrifice your health for another night at the bar. It's not worth it, because in the end, you'll miss out on a lot more because you were sick than you would have missed out if you ducked out early for one night on the town.

5.) Eat as healthy as possible for most meals. Indulge a little sometimes, but always remember that it's important to eat healthy, too. This means definitely going out for a kebab and fries with friends when the opportunity arises, but not going out for it every lunch. It also means that having a special dinner out at the awesome restaurant recommended by your guide book means exactly that--it's a special dinner. And for the rest of the time, look at healthier options. Don't skimp on all the great food that other country's cultures have to offer, but don't over-indulge either. Plus, you'll keep weight off that way, too!

6.) Go out, but don't go crazy. This goes back to getting plenty of sleep. Go out! Have fun! But don't go crazy! I've learned from several experiences this semester that going out and going crazy leads to a nasty hangover the following morning, which then leads to doing a whole lot of nothing for an entire day. And that is certainly not fun. So instead, have a few drinks, dance your ass off, and enjoy the night without getting out of control. You'll remember your times that way, too!

7.) If you're living in an apartment, change your sheets at least once every other week. Dirty sheets are breeding zones for gross bacteria, especially if you've already been sick. So change them at least every two weeks if you're living in a place for a long period of time. That way, you stay healthy, clean, and happy!

8.) Drink plenty of water. Water is soooooo important! So drink lots of it! It keeps you hydrated, healthy, and happy. I've even heard someone say that it's nature's caffeine. What a fun way to think of it!

What are some ways you've learned to stay healthy while traveling and living abroad?


  1. I hope you are feeling better soon! :)

  2. Thanks Dale! Being home has healed me right up :-)


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