Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: How to Avoid Sickness During Summer Travel


No one likes to be sick on vacation, but illness can happen when you are away from home. 

“One of the most common things is that people go away and they get a cold because they are being exposed to more people,” said Emily Young, DO, Sentara Family Medicine. “The other big problem we often hear about is that when people are away they are eating out and eating different foods that they aren’t used to so they get either constipation or diarrhea.”

Despite the fact that sometimes you will get sick, there are things you can do to try to prevent illness. First – start preparing early for your trip. Think about any medications you may need, and review your itinerary. 

Second, take it easy!  “Make sure you aren’t overdoing it right before your trip. Eat your normal foods, nothing that’s super out of the ordinary,” said Dr. Young. 

And, of course, sleep.“Get enough sleep, so budget time for that. It’s going to be really important because you want to enjoy your trip,” noted Dr. Young. 

It’s also good to wash hands and stay away from others who have been sick. “Make sure that for the couple of days before hand, even a week before hand, avoid anyone who is sick,” noted Dr. Young.

In terms of what to pack, bug spray with DEET, sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or greater, Tylenol, Band-Aids, a tube of Vaseline and contact information for your doctor in case you need a prescription refill are all important things to put in your bag.

Finally, doctors are always happy to schedule a pre-travel appointment to talk through your specific vacation needs.

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

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