The traveler’s roadmap to health The traveler’s roadmap to health

In addition to packing a suitcase and setting an itinerary, those who travel should keep some of the following tips in mind for before, during and after their trip.

Medical Advisor: Mauricio Andrés Quintero Betancur Internal Medicine Physician, Universidad CES


Take precautions

1. Find out what the vaccinations schedule is of the country you will travel to. In Colombia, some regions require specific doses. This information is available at migration offices, travel agencies and airports.

3 months prior to travel is when vaccines should be administered in order for your immunity to be developed.

  1. Be prepared

There are ways to plan for jet lag. Depending on your time zone, you can go to sleep and wake up earlier before your trip. Taking melatonin can help, which is recommended to help you adapt more easily to time changes.

15 days, on average, is how long it takes a person to get used to a change in time. The adjustment is about 1 hour a day.

  1. Build up your immune system

While eating foods that are high in vitamin C may not prevent transmission (such as citrus fruits and guava), they can help reduce the number of days of a cold. Avoid eating street food and go to places that follow health code regulations.

1 week before you travel, be sure to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

  1. Keep your stomach in check

Commonly known as the “stomach flu,” travelers may get gastroenteritis, which is inflammation in the intestine caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast or any other infectious disease. Symptoms include abdominal pain, headaches, vomiting, fever and the chills. Many people recover without treatment.


  1. Get out of your seat

Venous thrombosis can occur when people take long trips and do not get up from their chairs, causing the blood to become stagnant in the lower limbs of the body. If not treated in time, this can develop into a blood clot that can be painful, become infected or inflamed (thrombophlebitis), and cause serious diseases.

  1. mental health

Having anxiety about a flight or a fear of heights can trigger panic attacks. If this happens, give the person a plastic bag to breathe into, which can help reduce the intensity of the episode. Also, take precautionary measures before traveling.


Pay attention

If you feel tired and have symptoms of a virus that do not improve three days after returning home, see a doctor in order to rule out any other health condition. Be sure to know the difference between a common cold and the flu.

Sometimes, gastroenteritis causes Traveler’s diarrhea. Know what the symptoms are in order to find the right treatment. With this illness, hydration, is key. (It may be interesting: This is how the brain changes when we travel – Spanish version).


Don’t forget a first aid kit!

Make sure it has painkillers, anti-inflammatories, band aids, skin lotion to treat sunburns, bug repellent, oral saline solution and nasal decongestants.