You have done everything right. You packed the correct attire for your trip, taken your vitamins, drank plenty of water, exercised in the morning, and didn’t overindulge in the food or alcohol, yet you are still sick. This happened to me in Ireland. We went in the fall and had packed clothes to stay warm, and did all the above everyday while we were there, yet on the fourth day I woke up with a horrible headache. I didn’t want to miss anything, so I took some painkillers and moved on with my day. Around lunchtime I had to admit defeat and took the one dose of DayQuil I had packed in my emergency kit. This only lasted till early afternoon, when we were forced to stop by a pharmacy in Galway to get some DayNurse and more pain killers. The next day I was miserable, it was a full blown head cold.
Does this sound familiar? Even with the best preparation and planning, sometimes you just get sick while you are away from your home, or as in my case, while in a different country. What are the best ways to prepare for this and minimize the “down time”? I learned a few things from that trip, one of the main things I learned, is to not make a jam packed schedule. “Down days” are important when travelling for a longer amount of time and if you don’t schedule one in…your immune system will.
- Pack a small kit that has at least one dose of the basics. I have always done this, but usually we only use the Tylenol. One dose isn’t a lot, but it’s enough to get you back on your feet and get you to a pharmacy for more medicine if the need arises. I pack something to cover tummy issues, pain, and something for cold/flu issues. In this case the Dayquil was a lifesaver.
- To go along with #1, make sure that one dose has an active ingredient list. If you are in a pharmacy and they don’t have what your looking for (in my case Dayquil) showing the ingredient list to the pharmacist or store associate is an easy way to find something very similar to what you are used to. Sometimes, especially if tummy issues are involved, you are on a time crunch to get another dose before the medicine wears off.
- Do what you can and nothing more. We had transportation back to Dublin from Galway, which we took, then went straight to the hotel and hit the bed. While I wanted to do more sight seeing, it was just not happening. The following day instead of the tour we had planned, we went and saw a movie at the Savoy which was just down the street from us. This allowed me to sleep in and relax and I wasn’t pushing myself. We also walked through Penney’s for a little shopping, but only spent about 4 hours total outside the hotel for the day. The following day, I was still not feeling the greatest so we went for a slow, relaxing tour that didn’t involve a lot of walking or activity. The main thing to remember is don’t over do it. If you do, you will be down and out a lot longer.
- Be flexible with your plans. This goes with the #3. Make room in your plans for some changes and “just in cases”. When I was researching Ireland, Drew laughing mentioned seeing the new movie he wanted to see while we were in Ireland. We kind of laughed and said it would be cool but never actually made plans to see the movie. While I was feeling miserable trying to think of a way to get Drew out of the hotel and not over exert myself this idea came back to us. Whenever you are travelling, whether “Sneezey” is visiting you or not, being flexible is the key to not having a stressful trip.
- Have an open mind when you walk into the pharmacy. This sounds little weird, but let me explain. When I stopped at the pharmacy, I was only looking for the cold medicine, but the pharmacist recommended Drew and I drink this Immunitea at night. I almost said no because I knew my Dayquil always worked for me, but I bought it just in case. It really did help me, and Drew drank it and never caught my lovely cold either. Just be open to trying what is recommended. Remember the pharmacist probably knows the colds and flu of the area better than you do.
If all else fails, remember spending a day in bed recovering is not the end of the world. I felt so horrible that we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to because I was sick, but in the end it gave us a reason to hang out and do more of the “normal” things in Ireland, which I now appreciate. I love telling people about my experience at the Savoy, and Penney’s is now my favorite store of all time (truly! I am trying to figure out a way to go back to Dublin for some more shopping).