Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold: Summer Travel Tips

Lindsay: Summer means a chance to travel for many families, so today we are going to be talking about some tips for staying healthy while on vacation. They say that getting there is half the fun, what suggestions do you have for air travel?

Dr. Arnold: While on an airplane flight, people may have an increased risk for blood clots forming in large veins, commonly in the legs. To try to help prevent this, it’s a good idea to get up and walk around occasionally. You can also to stretch your leg muscles by raising and lowering your heels and then raising and lowering your toes. Having an aisle seat can help make it easier to get up to walk around.

Lindsay: How about packing medications?

Dr. Arnold: Check in advance of your trip to make certain that you don’t need any refills on your medications. Always bring more medication than you need, just in case there are travel delays. Keep it in your carry-on in case the airline loses your luggage. If you are flying, it is usually a good idea to bring the original prescription packaging with your name and dose on it.

Lindsay: What vaccinations should people think about when traveling?

Dr. Arnold: Before a trip, talk with your doctor about your destination to see if you are up-to-date on standard vaccinations and if you need any special vaccinations. Cases of measles are at a 20 year high in the United States and many of these cases are because an unvaccinated person traveled internationally, became exposed, and then spread it to other unvaccinated individuals in the United States.

Lindsay: What can you tell us about last week’s news about norovirus, which we sometimes hear associated with cruise ships.

Dr. Arnold: While it gets significant attention from outbreaks on cruise ships, those are only about 1 percent of outbreaks. The majority occur from contamination in food service settings. If you are on a cruise though, still one of the best ways to prevent illness is with frequent hand-washing with soap and water. If that isn’t available, hand sanitizer is a good option as well.

Lindsay: How about a few tips if you are staying closer to home and going camping?

Dr. Arnold: Becoming overheated is a common problem when spending the entire day outdoors, especially for kids and the elderly. Try to do more strenuous activities like long hikes in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. Drink plenty of liquids and don’t wait until you are already thirsty. Bottled or purified water is best, since stream and creek water can be contaminated from animals. Don’t forget the sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a water resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Do a daily tick check and remove any ticks promptly.


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