STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY ON SPRING BREAK VACATIONS

March 25, 2019

STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ON SPRING BREAK VACATIONS

Proper immunizations, hydration and safety tips can help

KIMBERLY, Wis. – With the long, snowy winter taking its toll on people around the region, many are packing their bags for long-awaited spring break trips. A few precautions can help keep vacations healthy, relaxing and rejuvenating.

One of the key things to remember when traveling is to bring along a sufficient supply of any prescription drugs that you need, said Dr. Rebecca Doro, of ThedaCare Physicians-Kimberly, who also served as a U.S. Air Force physician.

“Travelers should keep their prescriptions with them—not in checked baggage—in case of any flight delays or lost bags,” she explained.

Additionally, all prescriptions should be kept in their original bottles because unlabeled medications could be confiscated through customs, Dr. Doro said. Even before travelers get on the plane, there are a few other things to consider.

Flights

On longer flights, the formation blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis, can be a possibility, so getting up and walking down the aisle to keep your body moving occasionally is a good idea, Dr. Doro said.

“For travelers crossing several time zones, it’s important to remember the impact of jet lag, which can impair alertness and result in mood changes, gastrointestinal issues, changes in appetite and other effects that can impact decision-making,” she explained.

People can be proactive ahead of time by gradually adjusting sleep times or by adding an extra travel day to allow for sleep.

Hydration

According to travel websites, it’s easy to get dehydrated on flights because of the lower humidity in the airplane cabins, and later at the destinations, which are often much warmer, causing a more rapid loss of fluid.

“You can bring along an empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up before you get on the plane,” Dr. Doro said. “That will give you more hydration than the tiny little cup of water they give you on the flight.”

Food and water safety

Travelers should wash hands before eating, particularly in places where the hygiene may be suspect, Dr. Doro said. While all-inclusive resorts often use bottled or safe water for cooking and serving to guests, places outside the resorts or in rural areas may not.  

“I’d say if you have any question or concern, it’s safer to drink the bottled water,” she said.

Travel Clinic providers may also prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to help with traveler’s diarrhea for those going to locations where the problem is common. For people who end up with diarrhea, they should drink as much bottled water as possible to stay hydrated. Dr. Doro explained that anti-diarrheal medications are generally not recommended.

Sun protection

Remember to pack—and use—sunscreen at the warmer destination.

“Even if your destination doesn’t seem very sunny, the rays are stronger when you are closer to the equator,” Dr. Doro said. “Having good sunglasses that block UV rays is also important.”

Insects

Be sure to pack mosquito repellent where the bugs are a problem. The Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and is passed by mosquito or sexual contact with someone infected by the virus, is still a concern for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. For a map of areas still impacted by the Zika virus, visit www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html.

Health and safety

Travelers can talk to their primary care provider or call the ThedaCare Occupational Health Services Travel Clinic at 920.380.4999 to schedule an appointment for any needed immunizations or other travel needs. Checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel website can give travelers information about destination-related health issues and travel notices.

“If people look on there and notice anything of concern, they can talk to their provider about recommendations for preventive medicine prior to their vacation,” Dr. Doro said.

For safety-related travel alerts, visit the U.S. State Department’s website travel.state.gov/content/travel.html and click “Find International Travel Information.” Travelers should be aware that alerts can change quickly and can include warnings concerning crime, terrorism and environmental hazards.

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.