You’ve been waiting for your study abroad program to start for months, only to arrive and discover you’re sick. There’s nothing worse than missing out on fun activities and sight-seeing because you’re feeling under the weather! Here are six simple measures to keep you at the top of your game while studying abroad.
Carry Hand Sanitizer
When you’re exploring all day long, you’re going to encounter numerous surfaces, covered in germs. The last thing you want to do is eat or touch your face with dirty hands! Make it a habit to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often – but especially before eating! In addition, use antibacterial wipes to sanitize your surroundings when you’re on the go. A little prep will save you in the long run.
Try Local Foods in Small Quantities
You’re in a new city and you want to try the local delicacies, but do you know how your body might react to different foods? Before you indulge in a delicious dinner, try local foods in small quantities to see how your stomach responds. And while it may be tempting to savor street and roadside vendors, use caution. Follow the lead of locals when choosing and make sure the food is cooked to order, so it’s fresh and hot.
Purify Your Water
Diarrhea, cholera, typhoid – all sound terrible, right? Now take a deep breath and relax. Though they’re some of the most common waterborne diseases, they’re also easily avoidable – simply by purifying your water. Travel with a filtered water bottle or a portable water filter. If you’re camping, boiling is the best way to treat non-potable water. In instances where you’re unsure of the water quality, opt for bottled water.
Boost Your Immune System
I know you want to eat as much mouthwatering pasta, gelato, and pastries as possible, but remember to eat your fruits and vegetables, too! The foundation to a strong immune system is a healthy diet that includes dark leafy greens like spinach and bright-colored fruits like apples. Eat them for breakfast, as a snack, or even in a smoothie. If you’re in an area with potentially contaminated water, choose fruits and vegetables with an outer peel to remove before eating.
Avoid Uncooked Foods
Just like in the U.S., you can get sick from undercooked, raw, and partially cooked meats and seafood. This also includes unpasteurized foods like milk, cheese, and partially cooked eggs – all of which could host dangerous bacteria. So apply caution when it comes to these types of foods while abroad. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get your protein and cheese fix – just stick to hard cheeses and food that is cooked well done.
Do Your Homework
Before you leave for your study abroad program, always check the U.S. Department of State and research the region you’re headed to for travel advice, precautions, and health notices, including immunizations. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional at least a month ahead of your program arrival date to ensure you get any and all vaccines. Remember, the key to staying healthy while abroad is to be prepared!