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6 Great Tips to Protect Your Travel Health

Aug 17, 2007
Want a vacation from travel-related health troubles?

Try these tips:

Travel Health Tip #1:

Take regular breaks Stroll the airplane aisle or highway rest stop periodically to prevent the blood in your legs from pooling. Another good reason to get moving: Sitting in a car or plane all day can make you constipated, says Rick Kellerman, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and chairman of family medicine at the University of Kansas at Wichita, but you can prevent that with exercise. Even moving around for just a few minutes helps.

Travel Health Tip #2:

Pack produce... and other high-fiber foods, says Dr. Kellerman. You are more likely to prevent stomachaches and other gastrointestinal problems by having family members eat the way they do at home. When you get hungry and pull off the road, head to the local grocery instead of a fast food joint.

Travel Health Tip #3:

Get your ZZZs. To head off jet lag, schedule your flight as follows: When heading east, fly early; when heading west, fly late. This long-practiced flying strategy ensures the least disruption to the bodys normal sleep-wake cycle, preserving your travel health.

Travel Health Tip #4:

Wet your whistle. On a flight, you family is in a very arid environment that dehydrates the body and dries out the tender skin and mucous membranes in the nose and throat. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 16 ounces of water before leaving and 8 ounces of water every hour while flying, suggests G. Richard Olds, M.D., a travel disease specialist and chairman of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Fruit juice is also a good choice; cola, tea and coffee are not (the caffeine they contain may have a diuretic effect). Are you visiting a hot climate? A sports beverage can replenish sodium and potassium that are lost in sweat.

Travel Health Tip #5:

Go the distance with germ warfare. You do not need to vacation in Mexico to experience Montezumas revenge. The farther you travel from home, even within the U.S., the more likely you are to be introduced to unfamiliar germs, says Dr. Olds, that will increasesyour chances of respiratory illness, loose stools and other germ-caused infections. So take precautions: If you are traveling across several states, pack some over-the-counter cough syrup, sore throat lozenges and an antidiarrhea medication, Dr. Olds says.

Travel Health Tip #6:

Shun the Sun Spending time outdoors at the beach, mountains or woods? Protect your families skin with a sunscreen that has a high SPF (30 and up). Apply it to exposed skin areas about half an hour before heading outside to allow the sunscreen to swing into action. And use at least two tablespoons per application. Reapply sunscreen every two hours throughout the day and immediately after you have gotten wet or have been sweating.

Follow all these tips and you will go a long way in assuring your and your families travel health, and guess what? your vacation will be made in the shade.
About the Author
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