Health Tips

Before You Travel

The following are tips on ways you can strengthen your body and health before embarking on your trip:

Build Your Immune System and Improve Your Diet

  • Eat as little processed foods as possible.
  • Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils and products made from them – this includes margarine! When you need to use oils, switch to olive oil.
  • Reduce your dairy intake. If you eat dairy products, try switching to organic versions and include products with cultures, such as yogurt.
  • Eat plenty of ocean fish.
  • Focus on fresh whole foods as much as possible, such as fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. When choosing breads, opt for ones containing 100% whole wheat.
  • Try to eat an immune-enhancing food every day. This can include garlic, maitake mushrooms, broccoli, and all citrus produce. Avoid pesticides and hormones by choosing organic produce, particularly when choosing meats and dairy products.
  • Consider taking antioxidant supplements that include beta-carotene, vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin C.

Get Sufficient Exercise

Exercise creates immune-enhancing chemicals and increases oxygen, which helps fight antigens more effectively.

Start Taking Probiotics

A probiotic is an organism which contributes to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. A probiotic is also referred to as the “friendly,” “beneficial,” or “good” bacteria which when ingested acts to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and helps fight illness and disease. You can usually get them through a local health food store.

Pack a Nutritional Travel Kit

In preparation for your journey, consider packing a travel kit filled with nutritional snacks, vitamins, and supplements that you can bring along. The following are some examples of items you could include:

  • Snacks (granola bars, nuts, or seeds)
  • Packets of Emergen-C (powdered vitamin C with extra B-vitamins and minerals)
  • Supplements (Vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidant formula, maybe sublingual, and digestive enzymes)
  • Probiotics (L. acidophilus and other healthy bacteria), aloe vera caps, and other specific herbal immune supporters like Echinacea and Goldenseal, or Powdered Greens (Barlean’s or Kyogreen).


While You’re There

The following are tips on ways you can stay healthy during your trip:

Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep is a basic foundation of immunity. Lack of sleep can often lead to reduced immunity against disease.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration does more than just keep you from getting thirsty. Drinking water cools your core body temperature and keeps you from overheating. You will know if you are dehydrated if you don’t feel a need to go to the bathroom for several hours, if your joints hurt, or you develop a headache. Keeping hydrated will keep you alert, keep your metabolism high, and keep you from becoming fatigued from long days!

Take Vitamins

Vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc, as well as some extra minerals prevent the effects of jet lag and germ exposure. Consuming packets of powdered C and Bs (or liquid Bs), plus minerals (such as Emergen-C packets by Alacer), in liquids helps improve hydration and protect cells and tissues from the stress of travel.

Jet Lag

Traveling to a new and different time zone can sometimes make you feel tired and lethargic. This less-than-uplifting response is called jet lag. Tips on preventing Jet Lag:

On the plane, drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated sodas. Caffeine can cause dehydration and add to feelings of anxiety. Make sure to stay active during the flight as well.
At your destination, try to get out into the sun during the daytime. Exposure to the sun prompts your biological clock to stay in an awake state.
Try to exercise and do not nap. This helps keep you alert during the day and tires your body making it ready for rest at night.
Make sure you adjust any medication schedules you are on to your travel arrangements. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned that this may become an issue.

Symptoms of Jet Lag
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue & Lethargy
  • Sweating
  • Irritability or Anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Loss of Appetite & Nausea
  • Minor Coordination Problems

During daytime hours, you may be exposed to intense UV radiation from the sun. You are responsible for taking care of your skin. No one is required to give you sunscreen or remind you to apply it. Please monitor your skin’s condition and regardless of how red it looks, take 5 minutes every 2-3 hours to put on a new layer of sun protection. Wearing hats, long sleeve shirts, and pants will also help prevent overexposure. 


During your trip, you will be very active in hot, dry climates. It is your responsibility to restore fluid loss. We recommend packing a water container along with your other items. Water will also be provided throughout your trip by the in-country staff.


You are responsible to monitor your personal health while on the trip. This includes taking medications and responding to symptoms appropriately. Please notify the trip leader when you begin to feel symptoms that would require special attention by you, the leader, or a medical professional. Please feel free to take the time to rest and relax when not busy. This is particularly important in a foreign country where you are exposed to new stresses, fatigue, and viruses. Plan to go to bed earlier than your normal routine, when allowed by the team’s schedule. OneChild will purchase travel insurance on your behalf that will cover expenses in the event of a medical emergency. It is the responsibility of the traveler to understand coverage provided by a work-sponsored health plan and its benefits in travel situations.

Travelers’ Diarrhea (TD)

Travelers’ Diarrhea occurs when micro-organisms are carried through water sources and ingested by people. In cases where a person’s body becomes contaminated, the body’s reaction is to flush the parasite out as soon as possible. This manifests itself as intestinal pressure and finally unformed stools are expelled frequently for several days.

Things to avoid to lessen risk for acquiring travelers’ diarrhea:

  • Tap Water
  • Ice
  • Fruits without a Peel
  • Uncooked Vegetables
  • Salads
  • Milk & Milk By-products
  • Under-cooked Meat or Seafood
  • Food from Street Vendors

What to do if you get diarrhea:

Tell your trip leader. Remember, you will likely not be the only one to get sick. Your leader is prepared to assist you, but cannot if he or she doesn’t know what is going on.
Drink lots of bottled water. If you still feel dehydrated, tell your trip leader.
Limit food to hot soups and easily digestible solids like crackers, bread, and toast. As your appetite grows, add simple baked foods.
Consider taking an anti-diarrhea medication according to directions.