Sick in the Saddle: Managing Health on the Road
Before departing on an extended motorcycle trip, I usually ask the touring gods for two things: perfect weather and perfect health. Although a rain suit can largely mitigate any inclement weather, feeling sick while riding a motorcycle is not only no fun, it’s potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, if you tour long enough, it’s likely that an illness will strike while you’re traveling. The following are some suggestions for preventing and/or managing sick in the saddle.
Preventative Measures: Like motorcycle maintenance, preventative health measures are always preferable to corrective ones. Here are several suggestions for both:
Don’t leave home if you’re already feeling ill
Bring appropriate gear for possible inclement, cold, or hot weather
Eat healthy on the road
Pack over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, allergy pills, laxatives and other remedies for minor ailments
Pack and take any prescription medications
Drink copious amount of fluids daily, especially water
In mountainous environments, give your body a few days to acclimate to high altitude before beginning the ride
Get adequate rest
In third world countries, avoid leafy vegetables, unpurified water, and any other questionable foods or drinks
Managing Illness on the Road: Once you become ill on a road trip, it’s important to have a strategy for dealing with it effectively and safely:
Have relevant health information for: drug allergies, prescription medication, physician phone numbers at home, medical insurance cards, etc.
Seek immediate medical attention for anything worse than a minor ailment
Have necessary phone numbers and other information in case subsequent reservations need to be rescheduled
If at all possible, don’t make your condition worse by trying to “tough it out” and continuing to ride
Eat bland foods and consume large quantities of liquids
Let your body rest and recover
Don’t be reluctant to ask strangers for help if it becomes necessary
Always make your health and well being your first priority
What has been your experience with being sick in the saddle?