Getting the dreaded cold, flu, fever, stomach bug, or other sickness can disrupt your itinerary and even ruin a well-planned holiday. So what can you do to reduce the risk of getting sick when travelling in Australia? We explain why people sometimes get sick when they’re travelling and how you might be able to maximise your chances of staying healthy during a trip down under.
Why do people get sick when travelling?
Going on vacation and exploring new destinations is supposed to be invigorating and fun, so why do travellers often find themselves getting ill on their holidays?
These are some of the top reasons why travel can make you more susceptible to getting sick.
- Stress and exhaustion -Travel is harsh on the body. Jet lag, sleep deprivation, changing up your daily routine, and entering a different climate – these factors can contribute to stress and exhaustion for travellers. In turn this could affect your immune system, making you more prone to getting sick on the road.
- Exposure to viruses and bacteria – Busy zones like airports and train stations can host major concentrations of viruses and bacteria. These mass-transit areas have a lot of people densely packed in enclosed spaces, which could see you sitting close to someone with a cold or nasty virus. Viral upper respiratory infections like sinus congestion, cough, and sore throat are some of the most common travel illnesses you could be exposed to in these busy areas.
- Water – While many travellers from different parts of the world tend to stick to bottled water when travelling as a precaution, tap water is heavily regulated and should be mostly safe to drink in most parts of Australia. However, drinking from natural water sources is discouraged as a rule of thumb, and some rural areas may require more caution.
How to keep yourself healthy when travelling in Australia
Keeping yourself healthy on an Aussie trip could be a matter of planning ahead, getting adequate rest, and lowering your potential exposure to germs and viruses.
1. Plan ahead
Do some research ahead of your trip so you can figure out what might be trending when you’re in Australia and take preventative measures. As with most countries, you can expect Australia to have more cases of the flu during the colder months of the year. Make sure you pack essentials for Australia like a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
2. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water. To help stay healthy, avoid ingesting too much alcohol as it suppresses your immune system. This is even more important if you’re experiencing impending signs of coming down with a cold or other sickness.
3. Review your schedule
Remember your Aussie holiday is meant to be a time of rest and recreation. Consider easing up on your schedule if you have a tightly packed itinerary. Work plenty of downtime and time for sleep into your holiday so you’re not overexerting yourself.
4. Water safety
In some parts of Australia and in certain remote regions, you should double check tap-water guidelines. You mightneed to boil the water before drinking it or stick to bottled water if the local water is prone to contamination.
5. Take care with food
Be careful about food as well. Australia hasdetailed food safety rules, but as in any country, you could end up eating something that hasn’t been prepared to strict hygiene levels. Use your common sense when choosing places to eat. Also, stay energised and healthy with healthful snacks rather than processed foods.
6. Use hand sanitisers
It’s a good idea to arm yourself with hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes. Use them to clean your handsbefore and after meals if you can’t find a place to wash your hands, and wipe down surfaces on the go. These products are widely available in Australia.
7. Stay active
Do some stretching in the morning before you head out to see the sights. Try to get some regular exercise during your holiday especially if you’re sitting in a bus or train for most of the day.
8. Be prepared with cold remedies
Pack common cold remedies like cough medicines, medicated lozenges, and other items with you so if you do develop a cold, you can treat it or its symptoms quickly. If you’re experiencing symptoms, take a hot shower or bath to clear your sinuses and drink plenty of hot liquids. However, if your symptoms persist, it could be time to check in with a doctor. Ask your hotel if they have a doctor on call. The doctor might be able to prescribe you medication to help you get better sooner. If it’s serious, head to an emergency room quickly.
The last thing you want on a holiday is to get sick, but travelling often makes us more susceptible to getting something, whether it’s a cold or a stomach bug. Taking preventative action could help you avoid getting sick, while staying prepared in case you do catch something might minimise the duration and severity of the condition.
Are you looking to get extra protection during your Australian vacation? Get covered with the right health insurance for your trip. Your health insurance will cover you within the borders of Australia. Find a plan that suits you with Itsmyhealth’s easy-to-use tool now.