Traveling soon? Here are some tips for traveling by plane or automobile.

If you do get sick on vacation, St. Joseph’s/Candler Smart Care 24/7 is ready to help

Even though summer is coming to an end, many of you may still have travel plans this Labor Day weekend or as the holidays approach.

While traveling can be exciting and adventurous, trips also can be disruptive to one’s health unless the proper preparations are taken into consideration. After you’ve spent a lot of money making this the perfect vacation, the last thing you want is to be grounded by an illness.

With a little preparation, you can increase the odds of having a safe and healthy trip. Here are some tips whether you are traveling by plane or automobile.

For flying:

  • Reduce your exposure to viruses. With more than 3.5 billion people flying each year, airplane cabins can be a source of viruses. To reduce the odds of getting sick, use a nasal spray with a saline solution to clean out pathogens. Stay hydrated, wash your hands often and use antibacterial wipes to clean your seat’s tray and seat arms.
  • Stay hydrated. The humidity is lower at 30,000 feet than at sea level, making the air in the cabin dry. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, constipation and dizziness. To avoid an uncomfortable flight and an ill feeling when you arrive to your final destination, drink plenty of water during the flight. Avoid caffeinated drinks like soda and coffee, which can worsen dehydration. Nasal spray, eye drops and lip balm can help alleviate dryness.
  • Minimize jet lag. Traveling between time zones can throw off your circadian rhythms, which regulate your sleep/wake cycle. It can take your body a few days to adjust to a new time zone, leaving you feeling groggy, fatigued and moody. To minimize these disruptions, book an early flight for travel east and a late flight for travel west. At departure, set your watch to the time at the destination and start adjusting your meal times and sleep times to that time zone. Stay hydrated during flight because dehydration can exacerbate jet lag. You may also want to talk to your doctor about melatonin, a supplement that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle.
  • Prevent blood clots. A small seat on an airplane is not just uncomfortable, it also can have dire health consequences. Sitting in the same position for prolonged periods increases the risk of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Such clots, which form in your legs, can dislodge and travel to the heart or lungs. Swelling, pain/tenderness and redness in the extremities are all symptoms of DVT. You’re most at risk if you’re overweight, smoke, have varicose veins or have a family history of DVT. Before you take your seat, stow your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment to increase legroom. When the seatbelt sign is off, get out of your seat and move around the cabin. Walking around gets blood circulation. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. The airline magazine may offer suggested exercises to avoid DVT, including a series of movements to flex/point your toes to keep blood flowing.

For driving:

  • Prevent blood clots. Just as you are at risk of developing blood clots while flying, long-distance car rides also put you at risk of developing a DVT clot. When traveling long-distance by car, plan frequent stops to stretch your legs and walk around. If you are a passenger, do easy leg exercises like raising and lowering your heels and toes, stretching the calf muscle. If you are high risk of developing DVT blots, you may want to consider medical compression stockings and be sure to take any medication your doctor prescribed you to prevent blood clots.
  • Avoid getting car sick. Although it’s not a serious condition, motion sickness can make traveling very unpleasant. No one wants to start a family vacation feeling dizzy, nauseous and vomiting. To avoid getting car sick, sit in the front or drive, if possible. Closing your eyes and taking long, deep breaths may also help because stimulating other senses can distract you from the motion. Aromatherapy, ginger candy or other flavored lozenges may help. If you have a history of motion sickness, there are over-the-counter medications that may treat or prevent motion sickness. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.
  • Reduce your chance of getting in a crash. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among healthy travelers, and no medication can prevent a car wreck. To minimize your risk of being injured in a motor vehicle accident:
    • Always wear your seat belt
    • Place children securely in car seats
    • Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle
    • Know local traffic laws ahead of time
    • Don’t drink and drive
    • Avoid your cell phone, especially texting while driving

Smart Care 24/7: Here when you need usSmart Care 24/7

St. Joseph’s/Candler brings a health care provider to you when and where you need it. Our team of board-certified doctors and nurse practitioners provide consultations, diagnosis and treatment for minor illnesses all through video chat or over the phone 24/7 without an appointment for only $49.

Some of the common conditions Smart Care 24/7 can treat include:

  • Cold & Flu
  • Pink eye
  • Rash
  • Stomach flu
  • Allergies
  • Urinary tract infection in adult women
  • Back pain

To learn more about Smart Care 24/7 or to chat with a provider now, click here

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  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

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