Going away this summer? Whether you’re traveling to Maine or Madrid, New England or New Zealand, these tips will help keep you healthy during your adventure.
- Visit your doctor before your trip and find out which vaccines or prescriptions you need before you travel. If you're traveling internationally, find out which medications you can carry into your destination country by checking with its embassy.
- Get in shape ahead of time if your trip involves a considerable amount of physical activity. As always, consult your doctor before starting a fitness program.
To determine heart rate, feel the beats at a pulse point like the inside of your wrist for 10 seconds, and multiply this number by six. This is the per-minute total.
The pulse from the carotids may be felt on either side of the front of the neck, just below the angle of the jaw. This rhythmic "beat" is caused by varying volumes of blood being pushed out of the heart to the rest of the body.
- Make sure you have your regular dental checkup before leaving on vacation.
- Bring along your prescription medications in their original bottles, plus any over-the-counter medications you might need.
- If you’re a U.S. citizen and Medicare is your only health insurance, you’ll need to buy travel health insurance for a journey outside the country. If you have other health insurance coverage, check with your provider to find out if you're covered when traveling abroad.
- Pack a travel medical kit including prescription medications, health insurance cards, proof of immunization, travel insurance documents and emergency medical supplies. Other items to consider: insect repellant, over-the-counter meds, antacids, motion sickness pills and first aid supplies.
- Avoid food poisoning! Do your homework to make sure you eat at only reputable restaurants. Don’t consume raw meats or fish, and don’t drink the water or use ice in countries where it’s unsafe to do so.
- Wash your hands before eating, after touching your face, after handling money or items that have been in contact with the ground, and after traveling by public transport. Carry antibacterial hand wipes or gel cleanser for situations where hot water and soap are not available.
- Protect yourself from insect-borne illnesses such as malaria and Lyme disease. Carry insect repellent and use it frequently. Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when hiking or while visiting countries where malaria is prevalent.
- Use sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburn. Wear a hat with a brim to protect your face and neck.
- Avoid touching animals and birds, both wild and domestic. Rabies is always a risk, particularly in developing countries. If an animal bites you, wash the bite area well with soap and hot water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Don't overdo it! Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and avoid extreme heat or cold.
- If you do get sick, have your hotel help you find a reputable doctor or hospital as soon as possible.
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is a key resource for facts about conditions abroad that could affect your health. Before you go away, go to their Traveler’s Health page.