Healthy spring travel

Millions of people will be travelling this spring for fun, business or both. No matter where you go, there are steps you can take to stay healthy and avoid illness or injury. It may surprise you to learn that up to 70% of travelers experience some health problem – ranging from minor symptoms to illnesses that require medical care. Getting travel health advice about vaccines, medications, and other measures before you travel is important.

So here are 5 tips to staying healthy and enjoying your trip:

travel healthy walgreens

No matter where you’re going, being prepared will help you (and your family) stay healthy.

1) Don’t wait to vaccinate.

Make an appointment with your health care provider or a travel medical clinic 4-6 weeks before your trip to get your vaccines or medications and other information about protecting yourself from illness while traveling. Many vaccines take time to become effective, and some vaccines must be given over a period of time.

2) Know what you need.

Vaccines are often recommended for international travel. This may include getting up-to-date with routine immunization schedules – such as the diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine – and recommended vaccines specific for your travel destinations – such as the yellow fever vaccination that can only be administered by authorized providers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is an excellent source of general and country-specific information on vaccines and travel medicines.

3) Be prepared when you pack.

Put together a travelers’ health kit that includes your prescribed medications, over-the-counter medication to prevent diarrhea, sunscreen, insect repellent, alcohol-based hand gels, first-aid items, and toilet items. Depending upon your destination, you might also need to include an oral antibiotic to self-treat moderate to severe diarrhea. To lessen the risk of diarrhea, choose safe food and bottled water.

4) Beat the jet lag.

Combat the headaches, tiredness, and insomnia associated with jet lag. Get plenty of rest, exercise and follow a healthy diet. To avoid dehydration, passengers are discouraged from drinking alcoholic beverages and caffeine.  Instead, enjoy plenty of water to help counteract the effects of the dry atmosphere inside the plane and exercise your legs while sitting. Move around the plane when the seat belt sign is switched off, every hour or two. Adjust sleeping hours on the plane to match the destination time, and upon arrival, adapt to the local time and eat accordingly. Also, exposure to sunlight during the day or even melatonin can be helpful.

5) Take coverage.

Check your overseas medical insurance coverage and pay attention to security and health risks when you travel. Determine if your medical insurance policy applies overseas, and if it covers a medical evacuation. If it doesn’t, consider purchasing travel insurance. Obtain country-specific information, travel warnings and alerts through the U.S. State Department’s travel information website.

Be well, Stay well!

~ Pharmacist Andy

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2 Responses to Healthy spring travel
  1. Patricia Oberg
    February 18, 2014 | 9:49 pm

    I am 70 yrs. young and am preparing for a special vacation to Hawaii in March. As this will be my first trip there, should I be taking any precautions besides what I have just read in your five Spring Travel Tips? I am a type 2 diabetic,and have never had a problem keeping it under control. I take precautions seriously with my health care. Should my diabetes present any type of problems? Thank you for your info. Sincerely, Ms. Pat Oberg

  2. Pharmacist Andy
    February 19, 2014 | 12:00 am

    I like the advice contained in an article from the Harvard Medical School affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center. Among its ten tips for diabetes and travel are keep your supplies close at hand – including increasing your stash of supplies somewhat, try to stick to your routine, watch for time zone differences, and keep an emergency number handy in case you need it. I hope you have a pleasant vacation. Here is a link to the article, http://www.joslin.org/info/diabetes_and_travel_10_tips_for_a_safe_trip.html

    Pharmacist Andy

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