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Primary Care | 17 days ago

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During Summer Travel

Stay healthy while you’re on the go this summer with tips from Atrium Health physician assistant Savannah Taylor.

Whether you’re planning a trip to the mountains, lake, beach or city, staying healthy is a key element to enjoying your summer travels. Savannah Taylor, a physician assistant at Atrium Health Primary Care One Health Family Medicine and Urgent Care, shares tips to help you thrive this summer.

  1. Practice good hand hygiene

“Hand hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent illnesses like COVID-19, the common cold, influenza, norovirus and foodborne illnesses,” says Taylor. “Wash your hands before touching your face, eating or preparing food and after using the restroom and handling raw meat or produce.” 

Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  

  1. Enjoy the great outdoors

“It’s easy to spend more time outside during the summer months, and doing so can be excellent for your health,” Taylor says. “Just don’t forget your sunscreen.”

Here are a few research-backed benefits of time in nature:

  • A longer lifespan. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), time outside in green spaces is associated with an increased life expectancy and lower cancer risk.
  • Improved sleep. Sunlight can help support a healthy circadian rhythm (your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle).
  • More relaxation. According to a 2020 study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, spending time in nature can help you be more relaxed.
  • A fresher workout routine. Take advantage of longer days and better weather with a workout alfresco.
  • Better mental health. Exposure to sunlight can improve depression symptoms like fatigue and low mood. Nature can also decrease your overall risk of depression and help you recover from stress more quickly.
  1. Stay up to date on your vaccines 

“Make sure you are current on all of your routine vaccines,” says Taylor. “Check with your primary care provider at your next annual physical.”

If you’re traveling outside the United States, check with your primary care provider a few months in advance to see what vaccines you may need for international travel.

  1. Pack smart 

“Preparing a travel health kit can help you and your friends and family stay well, wherever your travels take you,” says Taylor.

A few items to keep in your kit include:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Your prescription medications (pack enough to last your entire trip, plus some extra)
  • Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or antacids
  • A mini first aid kit
  • Sunscreen (choose one that’s broad-spectrum, water-resistant and SPF 30 or higher)
  • Water disinfection tablets
  • Your health insurance card
  1. Eat mindfully

Making smart nutrition choices can help you stay energized throughout your vacation. Taylor suggests:

  • Having breakfast before you leave your vacation rental or hotel will help you power through your daily activities. Choose balanced options like eggs, cottage cheese, low-sugar yogurt, nuts, fruit, oatmeal or high-fiber bread or cereal.
  • When choosing your meals, be sure they include protein, fiber, vegetables and healthy fats.
  • Opt for healthier on-the-go choices, like salad, yogurt with fruit or nuts, beef jerky, pre-cut veggies and hummus, hardboiled eggs, fresh fruit, or a nut mix.

“By planning ahead and making intentional choices, you can enjoy healthier, safer travels this summer,” says Taylor.

If you have questions about staying healthy while you travel, talk to your primary care provider.

Your primary care doctor can make personalized recommendations for improving your health. Need a provider? Call us 24/7 at 1-844-235-6997 or make an appointment online.