By Sports Medicine Task Force
Travel planning doesn’t stop at logistics. Having a game plan for staying healthy while traveling starts well in advance of taking your seat when the captain turns on the fasten seat belt sign. Be sure to cover all of your bases when planning for travel. Traveling with a first aid kit, knowing how to maintain proper nutrition and hydration while on the road and being aware of the dangers at the site are all important pieces to preparing properly for a trip.
Well in advance of your trip check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website to see if any vaccinations are required or recommended for the country you are traveling to. Talk to your physician about your vaccination record. Your physician can advise you if boosters or new vaccines are needed before you travel.
How many times have you reached for a Band-Aid or antacid while on the road? Preparing and keeping a designated travel first aid kit stocked will ensure that you always have those medicine cabinet items handy should you need it while on the road. The Global Travel Guide (page 6) contains samples of three travel first aid kits. Traveling with familiar medications will not only provide a level of comfort, but will also keep you from having to purchase medication while overseas. Purchasing medication overseas poses doping control and other risks.
Here are some additional health related items to keep in mind when planning your next trip:
- Obtain refills on prescriptions. Make a printed copy of your prescriptions to be placed in your carry-on bag.
- Obtain a supply of your medications that will cover the duration of your trip. Bring a few extra days doses, in case of emergencies or travel delays.
- Verify on Global DRO (Drug Reference Online) that your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications are not prohibited by anti-doping rules
- Create a medical history card: (include for each traveler):
- E-Contact information
- Primary Care MD Name and phone #
- Known drug/med allergies
- Known significant medical history
- Current medications
Continuing the proper nutrition and hydration habits that you used to minimize/prevent jet lag is key to staying healthy at your destination. Below are some additional nutrition and hydration tips that will keep you healthy, so you can swim fast:
- Try to drink only bottled water when traveling outside of the United States. To be safe consider tap water in foreign countries to be an unreliable source.
- It is recommended that you personalize your water bottle or better yet bring your own “unique” water bottle with you on the trip. Be sure to keep track of your water bottle at all times. Leaving it unattended is a Doping Control risk.
- Continue to hydrate, especially before warm-up or practice. Again, only drink bottled water.
• Adjust water intake when in hot and humid environments.
• Maintain a “1 or 2” on the Armstrong Urine Color Chart (page 14).
Eat normal and easily digestible foods:
- It is best to eat all of your meals at the team hotel / dining hall. Additionally, try to eat your food while it is still warm; allowing food to cool can lead to bacterial contamination.
- Do not experiment with spices and sauces while traveling.
- Avoid street vendors and questionable food sources.
- Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
- If you have a favorite food or snack bar, considering bringing some along for the trip.
In addition to following the safety tips from The United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Chief Security Officer, you’ll also want to be cautious when it comes to animals, insects and plants at your destination.
- Avoid ALL contact with animals.
- Be mosquito safe. Use repellent.
- Keep away from areas where other biting insects might live.
- Check shoes before putting them on.
- Shake out your clothes before putting them on.
- Keep all zippers closed at all times.
Please visit the Global Travel Guide for additional information on these and other important travel topics.