Saturday, June 21, 2014

Travel smart--stay healthy, part 1

Lounging on white sand beaches, hiking in crisp mountain air, shopping in foreign cities, or sampling exotic cuisine may be your vision of the perfect vacation.  But a dose of jet lag, diarrhea, motion sickness, sunburn, or altitude illness can quickly sabotage any plans for a relaxing get-away.  Here are some tips to keep the travel bug from biting back (more tips to follow).

Start healthy  

·         Eat and drink healthy foods in moderation and get plenty of sleep before leaving--rather than exhausting yourself with arrangements for your absence.   

·         If traveling to developing countries, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at least six weeks prior to travel for information about vaccinations and health advice at your destination.

·         Make a medical first-aid kit with familiar over-the-counter and prescription medications. 

·         Take bottled water and drink frequently to stave off effects of dehydration from recirculated air in planes and cars.

Improve circulation.  

·         Keep moving to prevent blood clots from blocked circulation during prolonged travel.  Inactivity on long flights or riding in a car for hours can put you at risk for deep vein thrombosis. Exercise by pressing the balls of your feet down while raising your heels

·         Avoid crossing your legs.

·         Skip the cocktail.

·         Check with your doctor if you take contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy as these may increase risk of blood clots (being pregnant or having recently delivered increase risk, too).

·         Prevent ear pain when flying because of changing cabin pressure by taking a decongestant at least 90 minutes ahead of time--or chewing gum during take-off and landing.

Fool your body’s internal clock.   

·         To stave off jet lag, schedule your arrival in a new time zone at what would be your usual bedtime in the old time zone. 

·         Immediately change your watch to the new time zone; then sleep for a few hours. 

·         If that’s not possible, get wet--jump in the shower or pool; stay in sunlight. Adjustment is gradual—at the rate of one hour per day.

Sway? No way. 

·         If rolling waves on a boat make you tipsy and reading a map in the car means an unscheduled roadside stop, try to travel where there’s the least motion—in a car’s front seat, over a plane’s wing, on a ship’s deck or mid-section.

·         Focus on scenery when traveling on land, or keep your eyes on the horizon.

·         Try self-hypnosis or take ginger, a traditional Chinese herbal remedy.

·         Avoid strong odors, smoke, and excessive food or drink.

Photos from free images 

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