Follow safety tips when traveling to avoid hospitals

Published On: May 09 2012 04:45:35 PM EDT   Updated On: May 22 2012 02:11:23 PM EDT

(NewsUSA) - Vacations should be a time of rest, relaxation and adventure. For too many travelers, they're anything but. A double whammy of stress and anxiety on top of an already compromised immune system is a formula for disaster, sending many jet-setters home sick as dogs. Fortunately, a few essential items are all you need for a safe and healthy getaway. Be prepared for the inevitable with these five health and safety tips:

Bring a first aid kit. While you can't guard against all accidents, you can foresee the minor surprises with some degree of probability. Have something handy to relieve headaches, diarrhea and insect bites. Your "just in case" kit should also have bandages and plenty of antihistamines. You might not know that you're allergic to certain plants or insects until it's too late.

Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often, especially before eating, to ward off germs and viruses. Rely on hand sanitizer when there is no running water available. Use wet wipes to make sure the surfaces you touch frequently are kept as clean as possible.

Beware of pests. Check the seams of your mattress, cracks and crevices of the headboard, nightstand and drawers for critters or droppings.

Stay hydrated. In a plane or on the road, it's important to stay hydrated while in transit to prevent achy muscles and deep vein thrombosis. At your destination, rely on bottled water for hydration to ward off various bacteria, viruses and other parasites that can cause diarrhea. If you need to use tap water, pack purification tablets just to be safe.

Remember your smartphone. It's a guidebook, GPS, Internet connection, dictionary, camera, alarm clock and restaurant-business-movie theater-gas station-and more locator. It's also a phone that can be used for emergencies anywhere you are. Don't forget to pack yours in case of emergencies.