Having a healthy holiday: how not to get sick this December

Having a healthy holiday: how not to get sick this December
“I think it’s important for people to recognize that water out of the taps might not be safe,” Bogoch said. The same goes for ice made from that water, and fresh fruits and vegetables rinsed or grown in it.

If you do get traveller’s diarrhea, it will generally go away on its own, he said, but you will want to make sure you stay well-hydrated.

Boraston suggests you pack a simple first aid kit, some ibuprofen or acetaminophen, Immodium and Pepto Bismol (or generic versions) for stomach ailments, an antihistamine, Gravol, and oral hydration packets, in addition to any prescription medications you might need.

It’s not just about the destination, it’s how you get there, Bogoch said.

“Travelling on airplanes and in crowded airports and on buses, I mean, it certainly puts people into close contact with other individuals. And we know some people might be sick with respiratory or gastrointestinal infections at that time.”

Some viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces for hours, he said, so good hand hygiene is key.

“Simple things like alcohol hand sanitizer and washing your hands with soap and water after touching different things in public settings can certainly reduce people’s risk of picking up infections.”

Whether or not you’re travelling, getting your flu shot is key, he said. So far, the number of flu cases in Canada is a little lower than usual for this time of year, but reported cases are increasing every week, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

And influenza isn’t the only thing to look out for, Bogoch said. Some other respiratory infections, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can also cause very serious cold or flu-like infections and have no vaccine.

When you’re at home, cough and sneeze into your elbow instead of into the air, he said. If you’re feeling sick, maybe stay at home rather than going into the office or out to a party. And make sure to wash your hands.
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