Stay Healthy Traveling to Avoid Viruses, such as Coronavirus

Posted by Jackie, Alumna Mentor @travelgirl, Feb 11, 2020

I work with people who travel the world. I would like to offer them the best suggestions for staying healthy. But just as we are about to conquer our travel fears of getting sick, a whole new virus pops up – the coronavirus. That is by far, in all my years, the scariest of them all.

When I think of all the viruses that people have feared when traveling, these come to mind, HIV/AIDS, Legionnaires disease, avian influenza, Chikungunya, H5N1-chicken flu, ebola, norovirus, SARS – not counting Montezuma revenge. Typhoid, Measles, Hep A and B, malaria. I know I am leaving out many more that you can catch from mosquitoes such as Zika. The list just keeps growing.

The latest is the coronavirus, I cannot even imagine what this disease does to the body. The early reports coming out of China are scary. It has even caused many airlines to cease flying to China.

How do we stay safe when we TRAVEL?

Getting your travel immunizations and hand sanitizer, are those the only things to prevent us from not getting sick? Face masks on flights, do they really give the right protection? Can you just use any face mask? Or are some better than others to filter the air we breath? Should we wear gloves?

Another question, could we be get sick playing with animals in different countries?

I myself have on my last two trips, was this just a coincidence or not? I played with a puppy in the Dominican Republic who I noticed in photos, touched my right ear. I ended up with a virus in my inner right ear, which got diagnosed as Meniere’s disease??

I just was in Cozumel were I took a photo kissing a Macaw Bird. Now I have severe Laryngitis. Coincidence or not?

I have also caught H-Pylori traveling. Which ended up saving my life by catching an early stage 1 Cecum cancer.

I would love to hear everyone’s way that they stay healthy when traveling the world. I don’t want to stop traveling. Looking forward to your comments,
Travel Girl.

How do you stay healthy when traveling?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Infectious Diseases group.

There was a recent article in JAMA of a large sample of health care workers, half of whom used procedure masks and half of whom wore N95 masks when caring for influenza patients. The incidence of influenza in these health care workers was the same in both groups. So that might mean procedure masks (way more comfortable) are as good for influenza prevention as N95s, or it may mean the are equally ineffective..


First, see a travel doctor. Bring detailed itinerary of your travel plans. Recommendations vary from region to region, so bring names of all towns and cities you will visit.

Second, go to cdc website and set up for receiving alerts that could cause you to cancel your travel plans.

If you will be around mosquitos, spray all your outer clothes, socks and hats with Permethrin.

Bring electrolyte tablets and Immodium for diarrhea. REI sells tablets that you dissolve in water. Drink electrolytes right away at first sign of diarrhea.

Beware of water fraud. In places where you must drink bottled water, drink only fizzy water. Still water is easy to fraudulently sell as good water.

If you need to go to the hospital, call the American embassy for names of the best hospitals.

Some tourist sites are very crowded. To avoid very large crowds, go early.

Ahead of your trip, ask your doctor if you can carry antibiotics with you and under what conditions you can take them.

If you have chronic illness, consider evacuation insurance.

I hope someone can benefit from one or more of the ideas listed here


My husband and I travel a lot. We’ve gotten sick a few times, mostly routine flu bugs. But we’ve done better since we started taking antiseptic wipes and wiping down our airline seats, including arm rests, tray tables, seat belt buckles- anything you touch. The airlines don’t clean very often. Also washing hands a lot helps. We have a trip to Spain and Portugal planned in April and I am nervous so hope to hear what else we can do to stay heathy despite the Coronavirus.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment