Don't get sick on your next trip.
The only thing worse than getting sick while traveling? The moment you realize your hotel room doesn’t come with a fully-stocked medicine cabinet. If your idea of preparation is to toss a bottle of ibuprofen in your toiletry kit, you could be in for a rough trip should a bug get the best of you.
When you travel, your immune system is weakened thanks to less sleep, more stress, and a disrupted circadian rhythm, explains New-York based travel medicine expert Ronald A. Primas, MD. Plus, on a plane or in a car, you’re stuck in an enclosed space for a prolonged period of time, so if the person in front, behind, or next to you has something contagious, you’re more likely to catch it.
Your best armor is to be as healthy as you can be prior to traveling, but instead, most of us spend the days leading up to vacation scurrying around to tie up loose ends. “Before traveling, stress levels are high, you’re getting less sleep and probably consuming increased amounts of caffeine. Then, on vacation, your body crashes and your prior habits catch up with you,” says Angela U. Tucker, MD, clinical assistant professor of family medicine at The Ohio State University.
Instead of sweeping your entire medicine cabinet into your carry-on, pack only the most effective and multi-purpose meds to battle the ailments you’re most likely to encounter on the road. These 12 picks will shield you from the ravages of bad seafood, lurching bus rides, and the cougher in 23E.
(One note: If you have a pre-existing medical condition, especially one that makes you prone to blood clots, talk to your doctor about what additional medications you should carry with you.)