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Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, FACOEM  
Boston, MA

Specialties: Occupational Safety, Occupational Health

Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Occupational Medicine
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Traveling Well During the Holiday Season

Dec 19, 2007 - 3 comments



Travel Safety



It is that time of the year—many of you will be traveling by land, sea, and air and braving the roads, railways, and domestic and foreign airspace.

So, how do you stay well in your travels?

Here’s a quick checklist that you may find useful.

* Travel Medical Kit: Take with you a small medical kit with a list of your everyday prescription medications, your drug allergies, a list of your medical problems (asthma, diabetes, etc), extra glasses or contact lenses if you wear them, a small supply of over-the-counter medications that you take frequently, and several days worth of a back-up supply of your everyday medications (just in case).

* Stay hydrated: This means your urine should be nearly clear (remember vitamins and medications may color your urine—ask your doctor).

* Maintain your physical fitness and activity level during your trip. First, do this by getting up and walking around every hour or two on a flight or during a car or train trip. Second, walk, jog, hike or go to the gym at your destination.

* Make smart food choices: Take snacks with you instead of eating fast food in airports and on the road. For example, almonds and other nuts make great snacks.

* Minimize your stress by planning ahead. Get to the airport early if you are flying, check your bags and minimize carry-on luggage, wear slip-on shoes, and wear comfortable clothes.

* If you are traveling by automobile, have your vehicle serviced prior to departing, ensure that your spare tire is ready to use, and make certain that you have flares, a flashlight, extra batteries, an ample supply of water, and several blankets. Always wear your seat belt, make sure that children sit in the back seat, and always use car seats for children under 6 years old or under 60 pounds that are appropriate for height and weight. Do not speed, try to travel by day, and get plenty of sleep prior to driving (at least 6 hours). Lastly, absolutely no drinking alcohol and driving!

* If you are traveling by air, chew gum or yawn to depressurize your ears, get up and walk around every hour or two, and consider bringing an inflatable pillow to provide cervical spine support while you are sleeping.

* If you have medical or health problems, ask your health care provider about additional precautions that you should consider prior to traveling.

Travel Well!

- Dr. Parks