Taking a last-minute summer trip? With all of the craze and excitement of trying to reach your destination, healthy practices can sometimes get put on hold.
Sumit Som, M.D., with Norton Community Medical Associates – Clarksville, highlights five important tips to ensure you have a healthy, safe and enjoyable vacation.
Hydration is key
There is no question about the many health benefits of drinking water. But during wearisome travel time, it is even more important to stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 ounces of water per hour to ensure proper hydration.
Also, steer clear of dehydrating beverages such as coffee and alcohol. These will leave you feeling sluggish and may affect your sleep.
Adjust to the new time
Along with a time zone change, your sleep schedule may be completely thrown off. To avoid jet lag, arrive at your destination in daylight as opposed to night. Book overnight flights, if possible, and then you can hit the ground running upon arrival.
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If you are traveling to a different time zone, attempt to start eating meals in your new time zone a few days ahead of time. This will allow for a smoother transition to your destination.
Traveling means planning for the unexpected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends bringing a travel health kit with some general medications such as aspirin, anti-motion sickness medicine, cough drops, and cold and allergy remedies. Also, be sure to bring any prescribed medications that you normally take. If you are flying, make sure that you comply with TSA regulations regarding what you may carry on.
Hand sanitizer is a must
The last thing you want on your trip is to end up sick! Germs are everywhere — in rest areas, cars, airplanes, airports and at your destination.
It is critical to bring hand sanitizer with you, as you may not always have access to a bathroom.
Whether you are flying or driving, make sure you aren’t sitting for too long. Excess sitting can lead to deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form deep within the veins in the legs. If you are on a plane, get up to use the bathroom to allow your legs to move around. If you are driving, stop at a rest area or an exit off the highway and walk around.
Other prevention strategies include wearing loose clothes, drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol, and doing calf and ankle stretches and exercises. Compression stockings are an option too.
Here are some tips for staying healthy while outside of the U.S.:
- Schedule an appointment with your health provider before you leave. Together, you’ll need to review your immunization records to ensure you are protected against preventable diseases.
- Tell your provider where you will be traveling and how long you will be gone, so they can give adequate recommendations.
- Check out the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Destination page and learn more about the health of the country you are visiting.
- Before you leave, have a plan for what to do if you become sick or injured during your trip.