7 Ways to Stay Healthy During Summer Travel

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NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Offers Tips for Safe and Healthy Vacations

Your bags are packed, you are ready to go, but before you leave on that jet plane be sure you are prepared to stay healthy during your summer travels with some simple tips from the Travel Medicine department at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

“Whether you are staying near or going far, vacations can expose travelers to new cultures, experiences and food – and no one wants to be under the weather while trying to enjoy the beach or taking a trip to a museum,” said Dr. Ole Vielemeyer, medical director, Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

Dr. Vielemeyer offers the following tips to help you stay healthy and active in whatever corner of the world you may find yourself this summer:

  • Be up-to-date on your vaccinations: Even if you are fit as a fiddle, consult your doctor or a travel medicine specialist four to eight weeks before you leave for a trip, particularly one overseas, to make sure you are up-to-date with routine vaccinations (including tetanus and MMR, and pneumococcus for the elderly).
  • Take extra precautions when traveling to high-risk areas: Polio is still seen in parts of Africa and Asia and you many need a booster shot to be protected. High-risk destinations may require additional vaccines to protect from illnesses like yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis.
  • Pack medication: Don’t assume you will be able to find your medications in a foreign country – including any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Keep all drugs in their original containers to avoid any problems with customs officials and avoid putting medications in checked luggage in case your bags get lost.
  • Control jet lag: To get on schedule as quickly as possible after traveling, make sure you eat light during your flight and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Sunlight exposure after arrival can also help you adjust to the new time zone.
  • Prepare for “little” aches and pains: When vacationing with kids, don’t forget to pack simple first-aid supplies to help with aches and scraped knees that little travelers are prone to. Helpful items include acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever, insect repellent to reduce the chances of infection with insect-transmitted diseases, sunscreen, antibacterial wipes or gels, and first-aid supplies including Band-Aids, disinfectant and antibiotic ointment.
  • Watch what you eat and drink: New cuisine can be an exciting part of traveling, but be sure you are eating healthy foods that are prepared properly. Only eat meat that is thoroughly cooked and served steaming hot. Steer clear of raw vegetables, dairy products sold by small independent vendors, and any dairy products that seem to have been left out in the sun. Also be aware that in many countries tap water is not safe to drink, so stick with bottled water and stay away from ice cubes.
  • Avoid blood clots: If you are on a long flight try to stand up and walk and/or stretch for a few minutes every hour or so to get the blood flowing and avoid blood clots that can form in your legs.

About NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer; the synthesis of penicillin; the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S.; the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease; the first indication of bone marrow’s critical role in tumor growth; and, most recently, the world’s first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester Division, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar.

For more information, visit http://www.nyp.org and weill.cornell.edu.

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Linda Kamateh
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
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