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Traveling can be one of the best things that you can do to enhance your lifestyle, but it can also affect your health. Even though most of the health effects are temporary, it’s important to be aware of the factors that can impact your health while traveling so that you can take additional precautions. Here are five ways that traveling affects your health.
Greater Susceptibility to Communicable Diseases
Viruses and germs that caused the common cold, flu or other illnesses can often be spread more easily during travel. This is especially true if you’re traveling aboard crowded airplanes, buses or trains with sick passengers. These germs and viruses can enter your body through your nose, mouth or eyes when a person coughs, sneezes or breathes on you while talking. You may also get these germs and viruses from touching meal trays and other surfaces. You’re further susceptible to catching communicable diseases if you spend time at popular tourist spots where large crowds are present. To lessen your chances of catching any communicable diseases, it’s best to wash your hands and disinfect surfaces as much as possible and consider wearing a facemask when appropriate.
Stomachaches, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems are known to affect some travelers. If you try an exotic cuisine that your body isn’t used to while you’re in a different part of the world, your stomach may react negatively. Gastrointestinal problems can also happen after eating food that’s undercooked or spoiled and are known to occur more often in undeveloped regions. Drinking water that contains high amounts of bacteria or other impurities can additionally lead to gastrointestinal illnesses when consumed. The pressure changes while flying in an airplane or the seasickness that you could feel while aboard a boat can also make you feel sicker and have to spend more time in the bathroom. It’s best to take antacids, antidiarrheal medications and other medicines that can help combat gastrointestinal illnesses when traveling.
Traveling can even cause you to form pimples or experience other skin breakouts under certain conditions. The lower humidity that’s caused by flying in an airplane at high altitude can make the oil glands in your skin secrete more to try to combat the drying effects of the air. The extra oil can clog skin pores and cause blemishes to form. You might also develop a rash or other types of skin breakouts if your skin comes into contact with something that irritates it and causes an allergic reaction when you’re out exploring the natural setting of your travel destination.
Sleep Pattern Changes
Changes in your sleep pattern may occur if you travel to another location that has a significant time difference from where you live. This time difference can cause you to experience jetlag, which will likely make you feel more tired and alert at unusual times during the day and night. Sleep disturbances can also occur from being in unfamiliar surroundings, which may cause you to experience more difficulty when trying to sleep. The changes may even be disruptive enough to cause insomnia, which will make you feel groggy throughout your trip. Finding lodging that is comfortable such as a luxury apartment in Seattle or other big cities where a night’s sleep might be disrupted by loud noises is important when making travel arrangements.
Mental Health Challenges
Traveling can even affect your mental health in some instances. Trying to get to the airport on time, keeping luggage pieces organized, and managing other details that go into traveling can result in even more stress for you. If you’re nervous about flying, the extra anxiety that you feel while you’re traveling by airplane can cause temporary mental anguish. The lack of comfort that you may feel while sitting in a cramped airplane seat can affect your mental health temporarily as well. Adjusting to a new setting or time difference can also be taxing on mental health for some people.
Traveling is supposed to be fun, but it’s also important to keep in mind the factors that could have negative impacts on your health. Preparing for your trip the right way and knowing what you may experience during your time away from home can help ensure better health as you travel.