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Judging by my friends and family, ’tis the season to get sick. Everyone seems to be fighting something off these days and there’s no quicker way to ruin your travel plans than by getting knocked out by a virus. According to a CNN article published in December 2023, the CDC “reported that in the past four weeks, hospitalizations across all age groups increased by 200% for influenza, 60% for RSV and 51% for Covid-19.” RELATED: An Easy Way to Get Healthy This Year

The  winter months are always a tough time when it comes to illness, whether it’s a cold or flu like we’re used to or newer concerns like Covid and RSV.

If you’re planning to travel this winter, it’s wise to travel prepared with a health kit that has everything you might need on the road, in the event that you get sick or even think you might be getting sick. Here are 8 items to always keep in your toiletry bag:

1. Covid tests

If you suspect you may have contracted Covid, you’ll be happy to already have a few rapid tests on hand so you don’t have to drag yourself out to get one when you’re not feeling well.

2. Face masks
I know, we’re all tired of masks but if you’re feeling under the weather, it’s wise to put one on so you’re not coughing and sneezing on others. And if someone around you seems sick, you can always put one on to protect yourself from their germs … or even offer them one.

3. Hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer has become a must-have when you travel since you come into contact with so many germy, contaminated surfaces. (These are the 7 dirtiest things on an airplane, according to a flight attendant.) This Everyone hand sanitizer is my favorite – I love the spray versus a gel, it’s not drying and it smells amazing.

4. Disinfecting wipes
Wipe down those 7 dirtiest things on the airplane as well as common culprits in your hotel room (light switches, remote controls) with disinfecting wipes to minimize the number of germs you come into contact with.

5. Thermometer
Feeling feverish? Confirm your temperature quickly with an infrared forehead thermometer. This is especially helpful if you have little kids who won’t use under-the-tongue thermometers. FYI: Our pediatrician said that if you feel you’re not getting an accurate reading pointing the infrared thermometer at the forehead, to try behind the ear where you’d put perfume.

6. Pulse oximeter
I’d never thought about buying my own personal pulse oximeter until a friend who works for the CDC recommended everyone have one at home and when they travel to help monitor changes in their respiratory condition. We use ours often. It helped warn us when my husband’s oxygen saturation was dangerously low when we traveled to a high-altitude destination and again when he fell sick after returning home from a cruise. It’s become an absolute essential in our home.

7. Throat lozenges

Soothe your sore throat and suppress untimely coughing with throat lozenges. A friend of mine says she always travels with two packs of throat lozenges – one for herself and one to offer if her seatmate is coughing. Great idea!

8. Emergen-C Immune+ 1000mg Vitamin C Powder
Give your immune system a boost to stay healthy and feel better with these travel-friendly Vitamin C powder packs.

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4 Comments On "Why You Should Add These 8 Health Items To Your Toiletry Bag When You Travel"
  1. Elaine Berger|

    You never mentioned if you and your family members had been vaccinated for Covid, flu and RSV. It would be helpful to know.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      We all had Flu shots in Oct. My son was vaccinated for Covid. I haven’t had a Covid booster in a year

  2. Barbara|

    I travel alone, so I also carry a pkg. of day/ night cold tablets and extra strength tylenol. Thankfully I haven’t had to use them. My thinking is this, if i get sick I might not feel like going to a pharmacy in whatever country I am in. The above will hold me over till I can get to a pharmacy.

  3. Vickie|

    Eric Topol, of Scripps Institute, in his Substack of 1/19/24: “The new publications that confirm the protective power of vaccination against Long Covid cannot be underscored enough. There is general lack of awareness of this benefit of vaccines, and except for not getting Covid or a reinfection, it is the best way to protect against Long Covid.”

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