Phone (513) 251-5500
April 11th, 2018

How to Stay Healthy When Traveling

Category: dental health

stay healthy while traveling hagen dental blog

So you’re going to be traveling in the coming year, and you’re wondering what you can do to stay healthy? Here’s what to know.

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Depending on where you are headed, be sure to research the destination before you go. This is especially true if any of the following are true:

  • You’re traveling with kids
  • You have a chronic disease
  • You’ll be on a cruise
  • You will be on an extended stay
  • You are classified as immune-compromised/weakened immune system
  • You are pregnant
  • You are doing a mission trip or you are a part of disaster relief effort

…Even if you are “just” visiting friends and family, it’s still worth doing the research ahead of time!

After all, traveling out of the country, in particular, can bring with it some risk! Whether or not the location is considered risky, you can also set up travel alerts just to stay informed.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has some valuable resources available where you can search, by destination, to see information that can help you prepare for a trip. Visit their Destination page and then select the locations which you will be visiting to learn a wealth of information.

healthy traveling hagen dental practice in cincinnati

2. Create a healthy travel packing list and stick to it

One of the key ways you can stay healthy is by sticking to your “normal” healthy routine.

When you’re able, bring healthy food that you can eat during your trip. Otherwise, do research on where you’ll be able to find food. If someone in your group has a specialty diet, write down what you’ll need so that they can eat and/or snack on the trip.

You can also prepare when and how you will work out on the trip. Add things you’d normally do to your list, such as medications and supplements, so that you don’t forget anything.

3. Create a travel health and medical journey to help you plan ahead

Check your health insurance plan to see what is covered and what isn’t in the places you will be traveling in. If appropriate, determine if you need to purchase additional coverage. In some cases, medical evacuation insurance could be appropriate.

Be sure to do this for every person in your group and consider keeping the information in a folder or in a secure place where you can quickly access the information.

You can also find a list of doctors and and hospitals in the country you are visiting on Embassy and Consulate websites. Doing this research before anything happens can help you save time (and money) later. The International Association for Medical Assistance To Travelers is also a place to turn to for contacts. Specific to Europe, you can find information on the American Dental Society of Europe here. You could even consider saving the information in your phone!

Additionally, you can find out more information about what to bring and how to best prepared by visiting the US’ Your Health Abroad website online.

4. Consider seeing a doctor, and us, before you travel!

Depending on your current health status and the duration of your time traveling, it may be wise to schedule a visit to see your doctor. When it’s possible, also be sure to plan ahead by coming in to see us, too! That way your care team is aware of your trip and we can help you as needed.

There are also doctors that specialize in travel medicine, so depending on where you are headed, that could be an option.

This is the same for your children who could be impacted differently or have a different health status than you.
Examples of information you may share with them could include:

  • What countries you are going to and how you are traveling between locations
  • Activities you plan on doing (which could impact your health or increase the risk of doing something that could impact your health)
  • Any recent injuries, illnesses, or sicknesses you’ve had they may be unaware of
  • The length of the trip itself

If they don’t know your medical history, of course that’s important for them to know as well. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your appointment scheduled because sometimes you’ll learn steps you need to take—such as medications you’ll want to have with you, or vaccines that could be recommended before you depart.

5. Stay aware during the trip

So you’ve done the researched, you’ve packed to help make sticking to healthy habits easier, and now you’re on the trip!

During the trip, don’t ignore anything with your health that seems abnormal. If you do in fact feel sick or get injured, utilize the list you brought to seek medical care.

Be sure to also avoid oral health habits that could cause an emergency. In other words, stick to your dental routine as close as you can!

Examples of behaviors you really want to avoid include:

  • Using your teeth as if they are like scissors/knife/tool (to open things, or to cut tape, for example)
  • Chewing on ice
  • Chewing on popcorn kernels
  • Chewing on hard candy or other extremely hard pieces of food
  • Playing sports or doing activities where balls or other things can hit the mouth (where you aren’t wearing a mouth guard)

While this may sound extreme, it can go a long way in cutting down the chance for emergency while you travel.

follow your normal health routine

6. Take the right steps if a dental emergency happens!

First and foremost, if you have any kind of emergency (injury, unexplained bleeding, diarrhea, high fever, or symptoms of certain diseases that are known risks in your area), be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Unless your research tells you otherwise, if you are unsure of who to call, you can contact people at the Embassy or Consulate, which are often available at all times of the day (1).

If you have a dental-related emergency—that is, something that requires immediate attention—seek medical attention as well.

Here’s a list of situations when it’s best to get urgent attention:

  • Puncture wounds or lacerations to the cheeks, tongue or lips
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Severe and unusual pain
  • Large bulges on the gum tissue
  • Foreign object stuck in teeth or gums (potential emergency)
  • Sudden swelling in the mouth or gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Knocked out teeth, loose and/or misaligned teeth and fractured teeth

7. Watch your health when you return

People can become sick or ill many weeks after returning home from travel. Not only does travel introduce us to potential illnesses and diseases, but it can fatigue the body and suppress our immune system.

When returning from any trip, be sure to stay as hydrated as possible. If you were required to take certain medications while traveling (such as in a malaria-infested area), be sure to keep taking that medicine as prescribed!

Fuel your body with whole foods and try to avoid sugar as much as possible. If you have any flu-like symptoms or any irregular symptoms, again, be sure to see a medical professional.

Traveling abroad soon? Remember, this list is not comprehensive, so be sure to visit the CDC’s website to learn more.

Dental Health for Your Entire Family

One this is clear: If you are going to be traveling for quite some time, or even if just for a brief trip, it is a good idea to prepare for any medical emergency ahead of time.

You can schedule an appointment with us by calling (513) 251-5500 or click the Online Scheduling
button on our website to schedule your next visit!

Sources:

  1. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/sick-during-trip

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