I’m extremely excited yet feel like pure crap. I’m boarding my flight from New York City to London, hoping to go along those next 7+ hours in the plane without any major issues and without eating a heavy dinner. I’m not sick anymore, yet the strong antibiotics prescribed to cure the strep throat that was killing me the previous week are making me feel awful in many other ways – among those; nausea from eating and smelling things. A couple hours before boarding the place, I take the last of the dreadful pills and hope that the side effects don’t extend more than my first day abroad… oh, the jet lag this will cause me…
That was my ordeal just before traveling to Europe earlier this year. Even when I managed to fight the sickness right on time before leaving, the antibiotics’ side effects were still kicking strong during the first two days of my trip. I wasn’t feeling the hottest, but still, I pushed the most I could to not let it ruin my short time in Brussels.
I hate feeling sick while on the road. Who doesn’t? Not only does it make me feel like crap, but also makes people give me that weird don’t-come-near-me look and end up avoiding me like the plague.
Since I don’t want to end up spending my days thrown on a bed wishing for things to get better, I do my best to overcome my sickness in various ways:
- I always travel with a stash of medications (antibiotics, acetaminophen, vitamins, ibuprofen, etc.), almost to the point of looking like a hypochondriac. But I rather be safe than sorry if I get sick on the road.
- Sometimes I open myself to experiment with local remedies. When in Cuzco, I drank a lot of coca tea to counteract the altitude sickness. I wanted to be in the best shape for the Inca Trail.
- I try to boost my immune system. I drink a lot of juice, especially orange juice for the Vitamin C. Sometimes I even take Emergen-C or Airborne On the Go.
- If I feel food might be an issue, I try to improve my digestive system with probiotics. Contrary to antibiotics, probiotics boost the number of good bacteria in your digestive system in order to have a proper coating (flora) to tolerate “uncommon” or “harsh” foods. Yogurts are also good for this.
- I try to avoid sudden shifts in temperature. On my trip to Thailand, before arriving to its high 80’s weather, I spent some time in South Korea’s low 10’s weather and New York City 40’s degrees. That drastic difference in temperature between these three places gave me an instant cold – not bad, but not ideal either.
- I drink a lot of water. Hydration is key
- I carry a small bottle of Purell and use it every now and then.
- Sometimes I man it up. I consider myself a little trooper! Even when I carry medications with me, if I feel like it isn’t necessary (and that it isn’t contagious), I just ride it along by pacing myself and supplementing with my meals. When possible, I rather not take chemical medications, so I choose a natural alternative or none at all.
- Even though I want to see everything there is at any given destination, sometimes I just stop, sit somewhere, and relax for some time. I don’t want to make the mistake of draining all my energy and lowering my defenses, plus it gives me the time to admire my surroundings with greater detail.
- If I end up not feeling the hottest and find myself needing more rest than what I would ideally love, then I cut down my itinerary and pick the most meaningful sights for me – instead of the usual highlights everyone sees.
In the end, it is all a balancing act between how I feel, how I want to tackle it, and what I want to do. Thankfully, I haven’t had any major sickness while on the road and hopefully, it will stay that way. ::knock on wood::
How do you cope while on the road?
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Original image by Svenstorm, taken from Flickr Creative Commons.
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