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Categories > Family Wellness > Children’s safety

Say bon voyage to vacation woes

When planning a vacation—whether it’s a weekend getaway, an island adventure or a family pilgrimage to someplace Disney—the last thing on anyone’s mind is the potential for health problems. Don’t let a nasty sunburn or traveler’s virus keep you stuck in a hotel room. Proper planning and precautions can help make sure the only souvenirs you bring home are the ones you actually want. Take these steps to help make your vacation a safe and healthy one:

  • Learn about potential threats at your destination. Traveling abroad? Check whether you’ll need to guard against yellow fever, malaria, SARS or other diseases. See your doctor four to six weeks before you leave to receive any vaccines or boosters.
  • Check your health insurance. Consider buying supplemental insurance if your plan doesn’t cover emergencies away from home. Carry your insurance card and a list of your doctors’ names and phone numbers.
  • Pack personal prescriptions. Take an ample supply as well as copies of your prescriptions (with generic names, too) for any medication or supplies you need.
  • Make a medical kit. Include decongestants, cold remedies, pain and fever relievers, motion sickness and antidiarrheal medication, antacids, hydrocortisone cream, lubricating eye drops, bandages, antibacterial ointment, tweezers and a thermometer.
  • Protect your skin. Don’t forget sunscreen, lip balm, aloe lotion, a brimmed hat and insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Wash hands frequently. Use soap and water whenever possible and a hand-sanitizing gel when you can’t.
  • Eat smart. Enjoy plenty of fluids and fresh fruits and vegetables and drink alcohol only moderately. If the food and water safety is questionable, however, drink only commercially bottled beverages without ice, or hot tea and coffee. Avoid any foods not fully cooked and served hot. Steer clear of salads and skip any fruits and vegetables you haven’t washed with bottled water and peeled yourself.
  • Exercise. Skip the tour bus and see the sites on foot or bicycle. Try a hike, paddling adventure or snorkeling trip. Walk along the beach and take advantage of the hotel’s pool or fitness room.