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Dr. Donnica's Top Tips for Healthy Travel, Part Two

Pack Smart

One of the greatest travel-related health risks lies with our luggage. Over-packing and then incorrectly lifting suitcases is a significant risk for back or other orthopedic injuries. Try to buy suitcases that come with rollers. Healthy rules of thumb for packing are that less is more and two lighter bags are better than one heavier bag.  In fact, many airlines are now enforcing weight limits for luggage with hefty fines for overweight baggage. 

Your Travel Medicine Kit

On airplanes, how you pack may also impact your health. Bring any prescription medications with you in your carry-on luggage, even if you only anticipate a short flight.  If you take injectable medications like insulin, carry a copy of your syringe prescription.  It is also advisable to carry copies of all prescriptions in your carry-on and in your luggage in case they need to be replaced during vacation.  Keep these with copies of your other travel documents, including your insurance card, passport and credit cards. 

Most travelers remember to pack their toiletries, shaving kits, and make-up bags, but few consider packing a well-stocked medicine kit.  This should be in your carry-on bag.  It is also a great idea to keep a well-stocked kit in your car.  One way to think about what to put in this kit is to remember any unfortunate events that you or a companion have experienced on a trip and include what you wish you had with then! 

This kit should include basic first aid supplies and pain relievers (adhesive bandages, topical antibiotic ointment, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and hydrocortisone), as well as any of the following categories which apply to you or your trip: products to prevent or treat various gastrointestinal upsets (nausea, constipation, indigestion, hemorrhoids, or diarrhea); allergy products; cough/cold preparations; motion sickness aids; sleeping aids; contraceptives; vitamins and supplements; all prescription medications; sunscreen; and an index card with contact information for your various healthcare providers.  A pen and blank index card are helpful for jotting down any supplies that need to be replaced or added.  With a well-stocked medicine kit, you are not only prepared for many medical symptoms you may experience, but you are also prepared to assist others. 

Created: 10/4/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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