Vacation plans will soon be swinging into high gear. And with an increasing number of people travelling abroad, there’s no better time than now to make sure your next trip is a healthy one.
Manage Your Medications
If you will be travelling across time zones, ask your doctor about the best way to manage your medication schedule. Should you take your medicine at the usual time for your home time zone? Should you switch? If so, how?
Be sure to take enough of each medication with you, so you don’t have to worry about finding a pharmacy and filling a prescription on your trip.
Keep a copy of your prescriptions with you in case your medication is lost and you need a replacement.
Also, ask your doctor how your medications may react with the new foods you may eat on your trip.
Get It In Writing
Ask your doctor to write down any medical problems you have and how they are being treated.
Add the names (including generic names) and doses of any drugs you may be taking and how you take them (whether you need a syringe and needle, for example). If you are travelling abroad, this will make your trip through customs much smoother. It will also make getting replacement medications easier if you lose any. Make a copy of the list – keep one in your suitcase and another with you at all times.
If you’re travelling by airplane, place all medications in your carryon instead of your checked luggage, to prevent them from being lost or stolen.
Keep your medications in their original containers while travelling.
If you have heart disease, keep a copy of your most recent ECG (electrocardiogram) with you as well. If you experience any cardiac problems on your trip, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, it can be difficult to determine changes if an ECG is not available for reference.
Guard Against DVT
Older adults should wear compression socks when they travel – according to some studies, they may be able to reduce the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).
Locate Local Help
If you are travelling somewhere for the first time, it’s a good idea to identify a local hospital, clinic or physician ahead of time – one that will be able to meet your specific health needs, should you need to seek treatment on your trip.
If you are travelling abroad, the consulate or embassy in that country should be able to recommend an appropriate hospital or clinic. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers can help connect international travellers with doctors and clinics as well.
You may want to consider purchasing a temporary supplemental insurance plan if you are travelling outside the country. Check with your health insurance provider to see in which countries, if any, you will be covered when overseas.
Healthcare abroad can be expensive. Medicare and most major insurance providers do not cover service outside India.
Retired military personnel should check if their healthcare is covered in the country in which they will be travelling.
Shield Yourself From Sunburn
Use sunscreen on a daily basis. Water-resistant sunscreens work well for a trip to the beach or for a hot day, when you may sweat a lot. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out into the sun. Re-apply every two hours after that. Using approximately one ounce of sunscreen (about a shot-glass full) every time you apply, will ensure maximum protection.
You might also consider purchasing a wide-brimmed sunprotective hat.
Beat The Heat
We need to drink more liquids during the hot summer, so consume plenty of cool liquids (fruit juices can help, too).
Remember to stay hydrated especially during air travel, when the air is particularly dry. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be slightly dehydrated. So, take water every time the flight attendant asks if you’d like a drink, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which will dehydrate you.
Protect Yourself From Illness
Traveller’s diarrhea is the most common health complaint of travellers to foreign countries. It is usually bacterial in nature and can be treated with antibiotics that can be provided by a travel medicine specialist (who should know which antibiotics work best in which parts of the world). Consult your doctor for more information.
Use a hand sanitizer before meals and ask your hotel or tour operator for safe places to eat – food at international hotels is usually safe. Drink bottled water, and use the same to brush your teeth as well.
Cruise ships present unique risks, including noroviruses, which have been associated with outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting. Handwashing and use of hand sanitizers before meals and after touching surfaces in common shipboard areas may help you avoid this problem.
Keep Your Contacts
Carry emergency contact information with you in case of an accident or a sudden illness so that family members can be easily notified of your status.
The best way to ensure a fun travelling experience is: To consult with your doctor ahead of time and make sure your immunizations are up to date.
P.S. Taken from an article in Health and Nutrition magazine.