Karla Mures HealthDay Reporter
Saturday, May 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — There’s a lot to keep in mind when going on vacation, but it’s good to add one more item to your to-do list.
Baylor College of Medicine in Houston suggests creating a family travel health checklist to ensure the health and safety of you and your loved ones during your trip.
“Traveling can expose families to a variety of environments, climates and potential health risks. A medical travel checklist will ensure families are taking the necessary precautions to protect their health and safety. said Dr. Mike Renn, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University.
“The list should include essential items such as medicines, first aid and personal protective equipment,” he said in a university news release.
Talk to your doctor before you travel to get advice on vaccinations and medications you may need depending on your destination.
If you have family members who take medication, make sure they have enough to take for the duration of your absence. Find out if you need special documentation to bring medicines across the border.
If you travel in hot environments, such as long car rides, decide what to do if some items may lose potency. This may include insulin, some antibiotics, inhalers, eye drops, liquids and ointments.
“Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, allergy medications, and certain vitamin supplements can also be compromised by high fever,” Ren says. “Check the package for specific storage recommendations and ask your pharmacist or doctor about best practices for handling medications.”
Additional precautions may be required when taking extended vacations.
Family members with chronic illnesses should consult a doctor to determine if it is ideal to be away from home for an extended period of time.
If you are unable to secure sufficient medication for the entire length of your stay, please ensure that your destination has local pharmacies, doctors, telemedicine, or mail-in medication options available.
If you travel across time zones, it’s important to make additional plans for when to take your medication. Ren encourages patients to work with their healthcare providers to coordinate medication timings and minimize confusion.
Check airline and other transportation requirements to properly pack or carry essential medical equipment such as insulin pumps, glucose meters, nebulizers, blood pressure monitors, and mobility aids such as canes and walkers.
“Common items prohibited by airlines include oxygen tanks, large liquid oxygen systems, compressed gas cylinders and certain radioactive materials,” Ren said. “If you need these, you may need to plan your transportation with these restrictions in mind or ensure they are available at your destination.”
You may also be required to properly pack and provide medical documentation for certain other medical supplies such as lancets, wound dressings and catheters.
If you have an illness, especially a contagious illness, or if someone in your party has recently undergone major surgery, or has an uncontrolled chronic illness or condition that may require immediate medical intervention If so, postpone your travel plans.
Pregnant women should avoid flying during the third trimester of pregnancy. You should also talk to your doctor about travel plans, especially if you’re in a high-risk pregnancy, Ren said.
Ren added that avoid unnecessary air travel, especially during the first few weeks after your baby is born. Most pediatricians recommend waiting six months for your baby’s immune system to develop.
Traveling seniors should consider their health status, physical abilities, personal preferences and accessibility when making travel plans.
“Medical Travel Checklists give families peace of mind. They can be confident that they are taking all necessary precautions to address potential medical issues while traveling. It allows us to focus on enjoying the travel experience,” Ren said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detailed information on safe and healthy travel.
Source: Baylor College of Medicine, News Release, May 18, 2023
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