Healthy Trip Tips
Although you cannot anticipate every contingency, there are steps you can take to ensure a healthy vacation. 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 members take on a regular basis.
See your doctor. Before leaving on 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 often alleviated by working with your doctor.
The most common problem is diarrhea, often caused by bacteria from your hands finding its way to your stomach. To prevent this use hand sanitizer and apply it before eating, especially if you are eating tacos or some other Mexican treat that you eat with your hands. Also don't brush you teeth with tap water. Washing should be fine in tap water but don't drink it. Wash vegetables and soak them in water with a few drops of Microdyne disinfectant added [iodine solution, available at most grocery stores]. If you do get a case of the runs, drink plenty of purified bottled water to avoid dehydration. It's not a bad idea to always have a bottle close at hand. Then there's the legendary Caribbean remedy - "You put the lime in the coconut, put them both together, and you'll feel better". There is some truth to that old song if you're not too bad off. People with digestive disorders such as chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome require frequent bathroom visits during long trips so prepare for that with some bathroom tissue in the car, just in case. Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications are helpful and there are prescription medications available for people who have more severe symptoms.THE DO'S
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Use gel hand sanitizer before eating with your hands [e.g. sandwiches, tacos, chips & salsa].
- Brush your teeth with bottled water.
- Drink plenty of purified bottled water, canned or bottled beverages.
- Sterilize raw vegetables in a Microdyne and water solution before eating.
- Don't drink the tap water [unless you are certain it's purified].
- Don't put your fingers in your mouth.
- Don't touch any sensitive areas of your body after handling hot chile peppers
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. Try to avoid breathing exhaust fumes from the motor. When flying, try to sit near the wing of the pane, or the side where you are accustomed to driving. Ear plugs also may help. Regardless of your mode of transportation, if your seating space permits, lie flat with your head horizontal and eyes closed. If you can't lie flat just close your eyes. 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 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 prescription 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 may also be helpful to pack your own pillow case for use in hotels, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Joint, Muscle Aches and Arthritis
The inflammation of the joints that occur with arthritis may be especially troubling during long trips that restrict movement. Taking frequent breaks to walk around and relieve stiff joints and muscles can make car and plane trips more enjoyable. Remember to pack aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs or any prescription medications you normally use for arthritis.
Always pack medication in your carry-on bag. Never pack them in your checked baggage or luggage that will be stored out of your reach, where they could be exposed to harmful temperatures.
You may want to bring:
- A medical kit containing any or all of the following..
- 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
- Consider an Epipen (epinephrine) just in case, to counteract extreme allergic reactions.
- Sunscreen SPF 15 or higher [available locally too]
- Insect repellent [available locally too]
- Ear plugs
- For more remote areas: First Aid Kit with..
- Bandages, gauze and tape, Tweezers, Thermometer, Antibiotic ointment, Antiseptic, Antihistamine, Aspirin, Cold and flu tablets, Throat lozenges, Anti-diarrheal medication, Motions Sickness medication