Getting Sick On The Road


It’s inevitable. Anytime I travel more than a few days, I get sick.

I don’t know if it’s the plane, the stress, the change of sleep habits, or what, but I usually get sick.

On this trip, it took only two days before I came down with a horrible cold. I was able to relax and stay in my hotel because that portion of the trip was to visit friends and relatives in the U.S. and they understood.

By the time I left for Europe a few days later, I was feeling much better.

And then it happened again. Two weeks later, the cold returned. And it was bad. For the next 10 days, I sneezed, coughed, switched back and forth between a runny nose and stuffed one. The cough continued for another week.

And if you can believe it, just 12 days before returning to OBOW World Headquarters, I’ve come down with another cold. I’m in Dublin in a nice hotel, top executive floor, with warm, rainy and humid weather. Unfortunately, the hotel does not have air conditioning. So the room was very hot and humid. What did they do, bring up fans, of course. And while I know you can’t get a cold from a fan, they’ve been running constantly and I’m feeling terrible.  (I thought it might just be sinus issues from the fans but the cold symptoms didn’t go away when I went out.)

So what did I do? Fortunately, on long trips I schedule in some down time to relax and recuperate. When my illness is at its worst, I stay in for a day or two and try to shake it. (I know for those of you on short trips this is not possible.)

I had to skip a few things that were planned but I know that if I don’t shake the cold, it could get worse. (It also gives me an excuse to plan a return visit to some parts.)

And that’s something I’d like to bring up. The concept of rest days. If you’re going on a one or two-week trip, or spending the entire time on a beach, then this concept is not needed. However, if you plan to spend time sightseeing, and are 21+ in age–okay, perhaps a little older–it’s important to schedule some rest days. Sleep late, do laundry, sit in a cafe, whatever you can do to just relax. Let your body and mind recuperate.

And if you get sick, you will have to make the decision on what to do–continue on or take it easy.

The other topic is whether or not you should bring a pharmacy with you in case you get sick.

In most cases, you can find what you need almost anywhere. I take just enough meds for the basics to get me started. I ask myself: “It’s midnight and I need ???. Can I wait until the morning to try to find it or do I need it right now. If right now, I take enough for a day or two. If not, I may wait to buy it should the need arise. I bought a small sample bottle of Naproxen Sodium and haven’t had to use any. I brought a box of Pepto Bismol tablets and have already had to go out and buy more.

Note, Pepto isn’t sold everywhere. And that is something important to know. 🙂



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2 Responses to Getting Sick On The Road

  1. Paula Bag Lass says:

    Well, I was going to comment on this back in June, I got sick AFTER we came home from a month away. Go figure!

    Sorry to hear you`ve had bugs on your travels Frank. I sympathize. I certainly hope you are feeling a whole lot better now.
    Yes, it is something I factor in to our packing, cold, flu and stomach remedies that work for us, nine times out of ten one or both of us will fall sick at some point whilst on our travels. We have to carry prescription meds anyway, so adding a few more pills is not a problem.
    I usually take Imodium, a generic cold remedy pill from our supermarket, Tylenol and anti-acid tablets. If I start feeling ill I really don`t want to have to scout around for a pharmacy to pick up remedies I`ve never tried before, (if they don`t sell my usual go-tos. Doing that in another language is even worse.
    This trip was rather different health-wise……neither of us got bugs but I did fall over (cobblestones in North Yorkshire mugged me). Let`s just say, I spent the rest of a week hobbling and limping and applying ice bags to my knees, hands and chin. We slowed down and allowed extra time to catch transport.
    Our trips have slowed down somewhat in our dotage. We no longer act out the Amazing Race (she said, rolling her eyes upward). I also factor in down time or free days to do whatever tickles our fancy, or nothing at all if under the weather or feeling extremely lazy. In the four weeks we were away, we only had to get up at stupid-o-clock four times, twice to catch trains and twice for flights. It made for a much calmer and enjoyable trip.

    Healthy and happy travels Frank, looking forward to hearing about them.

  2. I got sick on the road only once and unfortunately, that was the time I forgot to bring my medical kit. Fortunately, my friend who was my travel buddy that time brought her medicine and it helps me with my high fever. It was a lesson for me. If you are always hitting the road it is important to always be prepared.