Whether a sleeping pill to get you through that long flight or a motion sickness patch for your cruise, medications are part of any savvy traveler’s bag of tricks. You’ll want to bring any prescriptions that you take regularly, of course, but a good selection of over-the-counter remedies can make the difference between a great trip and one disrupted by common travel maladies.
Consult your doctor before starting any new course of medication.
The following is a roundup of the most common travel ailments, and suggested remedies for each.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
DVT is particularly common on long-haul flights, and causes blood clots to develop in the leg. It’s caused by restricted movement. The best strategies to prevent it are to drink a lot of water and to stand up, stretch and walk around the plane as often as possible.
Travelers with a history of circulatory problems may be at greater risk. They might want to consider using aspirin. Doctors often suggest travelers wear support socks as an added precaution.
Motion sickness is caused by irregular or abnormal motion that disrupts the balance located in the inner ear. As the balance gets out of concert, nausea, dizziness, headaches and cold perspiration set in.
Dramamine and Bonine are two of the most common motion sickness remedies.
Transderm Scopolamine is a small circular prescription patch you stick behind your ear to reduce the nerve activity in the inner ear, thereby reducing motion sickness.
Many people have also found Sea-Bands and similar products to be helpful. They work by stimulating acupressure points on the wrists that are believed to control motion sickness.
Sleeping while flying is a challenge. Many travelers turn to medications to help them sleep away hours spent in flight. There are many over the counter medications as well as prescription drugs. Consult with your doctor. With any sleep aid, it’s a good idea to try it out at home before you leave to see how your body will react.
Jet lag is physical reaction to a rapid change in time zones. It affects most travelers, including seasoned fliers. Symptoms include disorientation, irritability, fatigue, swollen limbs and eyes, headaches, cold-like symptoms, and irregular bowels.
Long-haul flying can be debilitating. Dehydration, unfamiliar foods, cramped spaces, recycled air, lack of sleep, uncomfortable clothes, continual low-level noise, connections that disrupt sleep contribute to the jet lag.
To reduce the effects, drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids during and after the flight. Try to push through your arrival day and get an early night’s sleep. By the next morning you should be almost back to normal.
Perhaps the most common travel malady is traveler’s diarrhea (TD). Always have your remedy of choice, such as Imodium, on hand. Even the hardiest of travelers can succumb to TD, but taking the prescribed doses of an anti-diarrhea medication at the first indication will usually keep you up and about.
Bring your favorite painkiller of choice to prevent a headache or sore back from ruining your afternoon.
If you’re prone to allergies, bring along your most effective remedy in case your new environment triggers a sneezing fit.
Your kit should always include band aids, disinfectants, alka seltzer, eye drops and your other favorite remedies.
Although not medications, your travel medical kit should also include eye glass repair kits, fingernail clippers, and a miniature sewing kit.
You should leave all drugs in their original containers. This avoids confusion, but also verifies that they are prescribed to you.
If traveling to 3rd world destinations, check to see if any special inoculations are required. Make sure you have those inoculations and the corresponding certificates.