Summer is the perfect time to plan a trip and explore new destinations. However, traveling during the summer season can also pose some health risks that you need to consider. From vaccinations to sun protection and staying hydrated, there are many things to keep in mind when planning for summer travel. In this article, we will discuss in detail some essential health considerations and tips to help you stay safe and healthy during your summer travels.
Get Vaccinations and Health Check-Ups
Before traveling, it is essential to get up-to-date on your vaccinations and have a recent health check-up. This is especially important if you’re traveling to areas with a high prevalence of infectious diseases. Check with your doctor or a travel health clinic to find out which vaccinations you might need based on your destination, length of stay, and itinerary.
Some vaccines require a few weeks to take effect, so it’s best to get them well in advance of your trip. For example, if you plan to travel to areas with a high risk of yellow fever transmission, you need to get vaccinated at least ten days before your trip.
In addition to vaccinations, you should also have a recent health check-up before your trip. Inform your doctor about your travel plans, and they can advise you on any additional health precautions you might need to take. Make sure to discuss any pre-existing health conditions or medications you’re taking, as well as any potential side effects that could affect your travel plans.
Pack Your Medications and Health Supplies
When traveling, it is crucial to pack enough of your regular medications and any other health supplies you might need. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and health supplies like a first aid kit, allergy medicine, or motion sickness medication.
Make sure to pack these items in your carry-on luggage, so you have easy access to them during your trip. Keep all medications in their original containers, and carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to refill your medication while traveling.
Stay Hydrated and Watch Your Diet
Staying hydrated and watching your diet are essential for maintaining good health when traveling. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and other health issues, so make sure to drink plenty of water, especially during hot summer days. Avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks, which can dehydrate you even more.
When it comes to food, choose healthy and nutritious options, especially fruits and vegetables, to keep your energy levels high and maintain good digestion. Try to eat at regular intervals, and avoid overeating or skipping meals, which can cause indigestion or upset stomach.
Protect Your Skin and Eyes
Sunburn and eye damage from UV rays are common summer travel hazards. To protect your skin and eyes, make sure to use sunscreen with a high SPF and reapply it every few hours, especially if you’re sweating or swimming. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing when exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.
Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and apply it liberally to all exposed skin. Make sure to cover sensitive areas like your face, ears, and neck, as well as areas that are often overlooked, like the tops of your feet and back of your neck.
For eye protection, wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. Look for sunglasses labeled with “UV 400” or “100% UV Protection.” Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat that provides shade to your face, ears, and neck.
Practice Safe Swimming and Water Activities
Swimming and water activities are popular summer pastimes, but they can pose risks if proper precautions are not taken. To stay safe while enjoying water activities, keep these tips in mind:
- Swim only in designated areas and follow all posted safety rules and warnings.
- Never swim alone, and always supervise children when they’re in or near water.
- Wear a life jacket when participating in water sports, such as boating, kayaking, or canoeing.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before or during water activities, as it impairs your judgment and increases your risk of accidents.
- Be aware of water hazards, such as strong currents, rip currents, and underwater obstacles.
- Avoid swimming in unfamiliar bodies of water, especially if you’re not sure of their safety or cleanliness.
Take Precautions Against Insect Bites and Illnesses
Summer is also peak season for insect bites and illnesses like mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, dengue, and malaria. To protect yourself from insect bites and illnesses, follow these tips:
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET or another EPA-registered ingredient.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats when you’re in areas with high insect activity.
- Use mosquito nets over your bed if you’re staying in an area with high malaria or dengue transmission rates.
- Avoid outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours, which are usually around dawn and dusk.
- If you experience symptoms like fever, headache, or body aches after returning from a trip, see a doctor immediately and mention your recent travel history.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
No matter how well you plan, emergencies can still happen when you’re traveling. It’s essential to be prepared for unexpected situations by carrying important documents, such as your passport, travel insurance, and emergency contact information.
Also, research the local emergency services and hospitals at your destination, so you know where to go in case of an emergency. Make sure to have a first aid kit on hand, including items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
Planning for summer travel requires careful consideration of your health and safety. By following these tips, you can enjoy your summer travels while staying healthy and safe. Remember to get vaccinations and health check-ups, pack your medications and health supplies, stay hydrated and watch your diet, protect your skin and eyes, practice safe swimming and water activities, take precautions against insect bites and illnesses, and be prepared for emergencies. With proper planning and precautions, you can have a memorable and safe summer travel experience.
About The Author
Dr. Krisca is a highly-educated and skilled physician who has obtained a BS Public Health degree from the University of the Philippines Manila and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the De La Salle Medical Health Sciences Institute. She is a licensed physician and also a Registered Medical Technologist. She has received additional training in Hemodialysis for Non-Nephro Physicians on duty and has completed online courses in related fields like depression in populations from John Hopkins University and positive psychiatry from The University of Sydney. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of International Health in the University of the Philippines.
Dr. Krisca is known for her outstanding skills and compassionate approach to healthcare that make a positive impact on people’s lives. Through her passion for healthcare, she hopes to make a difference in the world and help people lead healthier, happier lives.