How to stay healthy while travelling

How to stay healthy while travelling

A TCM physician speaks

Text: Janice Sim

Vacations are way too precious to spend bedridden in a hotel room. According to a TCM physician, here's everything you need to prevent the worst from occurring

Holidays are peachy and full of inspiring imagery, up till the very moment when your body starts to break down. Especially when you're leaning more towards an adventure, rather than a languid getaway at a beach resort. According to senior physician Luke Huang from Eu Yan Sang, Singapore's temperamental climate of humidity, rain and intense heat sets the perfect premise for our bodies to incline towards a damp-heat body constitution. Unfortunately, this makes us more susceptible to conditions like diarrhoea, vomiting, flu, headaches, jet lag, dry and itchy skin during our travels — more likely when the destination has a cool climate, a vastly different time zone or different dietary habits.

That's probably the last thing you want to happen while setting off on the well-deserved break that you've been pinning and planning for. Here are some precautions and measures to take, as recommended by Huang.

Common ailments: Fatigue, insommia, swollen legs, dry skin, constipation, headaches and dizziness

Travelling to places like the United States can take a toll on your body especially if you're not used to it. After surviving a day's worth of flight time, you're left to deal with jet lag and the repercussions of being in a completely different time zone.

Health tips for travel tcm

What you should do:
1. Refrain from sleeping during local daylight hours, especially when travelling on tour buses.
2. Soak feet in warm water to promote blood circulation in lower limbs.
3. Ensure sufficient water intake and consume food and higher liquid content, in order to maintain smooth bowel movements.
4. Apply moisturiser on your body to keep your skin hydrated.

Common ailments: Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea, vomitting and dehydration

Trying out newfound foods that you're not used to eating back home can be exciting, but it can also backfire if you're not careful.

Health tips for travel tcm

What you should do:
1. Pay extra attention towards the hygiene of the restaurant or how the food is being prepared.
2. Avoid foods that are cooked or left exposed outdoors for long periods of time.
3. Drink more water and ensure sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables.
4. Make it a habit to wash hands before and after your meals. 

Common ailments: Flu, blocked nose, cough, dry mouth and tongue

Your body's immune system tends to be compromised when you're holidaying in wintry climates. If you're travelling to higher altitudes where the air is thin, the lack of sufficient oxygen combined with a weak body constitution may result in altitude sickness.

Health tips for travel tcm

What you should do:
1. Take hot showers.
2. Pack more than enough warm clothing, thick socks and gloves.
3. Refrain from opening the windows in a moving vehicle to prevent direct exposure to wind.
4. Prepare portable oxygen concentrators and anti-sickness medication or supplements if neccessary.  

Alternatively, you may wish to visit a TCM physician for a detailed consultation or pick up herbal supplements before you travel.