Tips for Healthy Travel
You're all ready for your trip-
You've got your tickets in hand, your bags
packed, mail delivery's been stopped and the neighbor is watching the cat. But
you may have overlooked on of the key ingredients for a great vacation - making
sure you and your family have a healthy trip.
Although you can't anticipate every contingency,
there are steps you can take to ensure a healthy vacation. Your travel agent can
help you determine the climate at your destination and what you'll need to bring
along on your trip. You've packed shorts and t-shirts appropriate for warm
weather at the beach, desert, or campsite. But did you remember sunscreen,
insect repellent, and bottled water? Planning ahead for a healthy trip involves
taking along first-aid supplies that might be needed at your destination or
along the way. It also means remembering to pack any prescription or
over-the-counter medications you or your family member take on a regular
basis. Also be sure to ask your travel agent about required vaccinations
and any health department advisories that may exist for the countries you are
visiting. For travelers with special needs, your travel agent can help you book
the vacation that's right for you and provide such personalized services as
having a wheelchair waiting at your destination.
See Your Doctor-
Before leaving for vacation, you should visit
your family physician to discuss any troubling symptoms that might become a
problem during your journey. Many health concerns can be addressed prior
to your trip and worries about illness or discomfort can often be alleviated by
working with your doctor and your travel agent. This information offers helpful
hints on travel health and how to cope with some health concerns that may be particularly
troublesome during any trip away from home, such as motion sickness, overactive
bladder, digestive problems, allergies, join and muscle aches or arthritis.
Common Travel Health Problems
People who experience motion sickness are
familiar with the dizziness, nausea, queasiness, and upset stomach that may
accompany car, boat and plane travel. Motion sickness usually results when the
brain gets conflicting information about movement. When traveling by car, try to
sit in the front seat and avoid reading. When traveling by boat, sit as close to
the middle of the vessel as possible and look straight ahead at the horizon, a
fixed point that will not move. Today's high tech cruise ships are built for
comfort with stabilizers for smooth sailing and most passengers experience little
or no motion sickness. When flying , try to sit near the wing of the plane, or
the side where you are accustomed to driving. Ear plugs may also help.
There are some over-the-counter and prescription medications available to help
prevent motion sickness. Remember to use caution when taking them, as many cause
drowsiness which can impair your ability to drive or operate a boat or plane.
People with overactive bladder may experience
symptoms of frequency (urinating more than eight times per day), urgency (an
overwhelming urge to urinate) or incontinence (a sudden, uncontrolled release of
urine). Overactive bladder can be a difficult problem to cope with during trips,
requiring many restroom visits. However, there is help available. If you are one
of the 17 million Americans who have overactive bladder, ask your doctor about
prescription medications that can help decrease the urge to urinate as often and
make travel easier. For more information visit www.overactivebladder.com
People with digestive disorders such as diarrhea and irritable
bowel syndrome may also require frequent bathroom visits during long trips.
Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications are helpful, and there are prescription
medications available for people who may experience more severe symptoms.
Avoiding stress, caffeine, and certain types of high-fat foods can help keep
those conditions under control. Consult your travel agent on the
availability of special airline meals to suit your dietary needs. On
international journeys, your travel agent can recommend high quality hotels and
tours with meals included at pre-selected restaurants.
People who suffer from allergies to molds, mites, dust, pollen,
animal fur, insects, foods, and other substances should take the same
precautions on vacation as they do at home. Bring any prescriptions or
over-the-counter anti-allergy medications used on a regular basis. It's also a
good idea to bring an antihistamine in case of accidental exposure to a substance
that triggers an allergic reaction. It also may be helpful to pack your
own pillowcase for using hotels, especially if you have sensitive skin. Some
hotels even offer non-allergic pillows and non-smoking rooms. Ask your travel
agent for availability
Joint muscle aches and arthritis-
The inflammation of the joints that occurs with arthritis may be
especially troubling during long trips that restrict movement. Taking
frequent brakes to walk around and relieve stiff joints and muscles can make
car, plane and cruise trips more enjoyable. Remember to pack aspirin , anti-inflammatory
drugs, or any prescription medications you normally use for arthritis. Your
travel agent can arrange special assistance a the airport and recommend hotels
tours, and cruised that cater to person with limited mobility.
Consult a professional
Don't let travel health concerns keep you at home. Some advance planning
will assure that you have a great vacation. Talk with your doctor about any
travel health issues you may have such as motion sickness, frequent urination,
allergies or back or joint pain. Then, seek the advise of a professional travel
agent who will help ensure that you trip is fun and worry-free.
If you experience a medical problem during your travels, ask for
assistance at your hotel or lodging facility or consult a local emergency
medical clinic or hospital for a doctor-finder service. Your travel agent can
help you locate the hospital closest to your hotel.
Don't forget to bring...
More than enough prescription medication in case of loss,
theft, breakage, or spillage.
A note from your doctor with a medical diagnosis for a
chronic condition as well as medications and dosages prescribed.
Medical ID bracelets or cards listing your chronic health
conditions for emergency personnel
Extra eyeglasses, lens prescriptions, contact lens solutions
Extra hearing-aid batteries
Pillowcase from home for allergy sufferers
Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
Insect repellent with diethyltoluamide (DEET)
It's a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy for emergencies
that may arise during your trip. The kit should contain:
Bandages, gauze, and tape
Cold and flu tablets
Motion Sickness medication
Water purification tablets
*Always pack mediations in your carry-on bag. Never pack them in
checked baggage or luggage that will be stored out of your reach, where they
could be exposed to harmful temperatures.
This information sponsored in part by Pharmacia Corporation,
makes of Detrol La and Astanet.
Partners in Travel Health and Education