With the busy holiday season approaching, thousands of people are heading to airports, commuting to see loved ones or just to get away from it all. Many will take trains or buses – or pack up the car and cruise the highways. But whether it is by land, sea or sky, there are likely to be delays along the way.
For people with serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease — and for young children — these travel woes can be more than just an inconvenience. To stay healthy while traveling, you’ll need to plan well. Here’s how.
if you suffer from diabetes
Eat close to your usual schedule. “This is especially important for diabetics,” says Inyanga Mack, MD, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
Since meal service is discontinued on most flights, getting to the airport early gives you time to eat before your flight. Also, bring your own Healthy snacks to compensate for the risks lack of blood sugarIt says, whether on the road or in the air.
Wear an appropriate medical alert bracelet. Mack suggests that you name your emergency contact and your primary care physician. Keep a list of your medications and doses, so that anyone can access your medications in case of an emergency.
Take medicines with you, not packed in luggage. Carry a few days’ worth of medicine with you. Then if your luggage gets lost, or if you are trapped in the airport or on the plane for extended periods, your health will not be in danger. Always eat and take your medications on your regular schedule, even if everything else is a mess.
Ensure that medications are labeled correctly. All prescriptions must have a professionally printed pharmaceutical label or label identifying the medication. If you are not permitted to board with your medications and supplies, ask to speak with an FAA representative at the airport or the Director of Security. You may want to call ahead of time to make sure you can get what you need.
FAA Requirements: Diabetics who carry syringes and/or needles must also carry injectable medications. Diabetics traveling to the United States may bring syringes and other equipment in hand luggage, however insulin Vials must have a professionally printed medical label. Better yet, keep your insulin in its original box, as it has the drug company label. Needles should be covered. The Glucose measurement It should have the manufacturer’s name on it. The injectable glucagon must also be in its original plastic packaging with the pre-printed pharmaceutical label.
If you suffer from heart disease
Don’t get dehydrated or fatigued. Get plenty of rest, says Ronald Crone, MD, professor of medicine and cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “If you feel overwhelmed, find someone to carry your bags. Don’t rush. Navigating a long airport can be a stress test. Carry as little as possible on the plane, so you don’t struggle to lift something on top of your workload.”
If you are traveling abroad, give yourself a day to recover. “You don’t have to be on a rush schedule,” Crohn says. “Allow some time to get plenty of rest, and make sure you’re getting enough water.”
Download a copy of the file Electrocardiography. If you have Heart bypass surgeryGet a note from your surgeon. Crone says this should detail how many veins and arteries were used for the bypass. If you’re in a foreign country and need an emergency catheterization, “the cardiologist at your destination will know exactly how to perform the catheterization,” Crohn says. “It would make the whole thing much simpler.”
If you are taking Coumadin If you will be abroad for a month or longer, consider making arrangements at your destination to have your blood tested. Many states require that you see a local physician to monitor your blood and write a prescription if necessary. Crone says the US Embassy can easily make these arrangements.
If you are traveling with children
Make a game plan. “Really think about how long you’re going to be waiting,” says Andrea McCoy, MD, director of primary care at Temple University Children’s Medical Center in Philadelphia. “It’s hard to travel with children at first, and delays and changes in time zones make it even more difficult,” she says.
Let the kids run when there is a chance. “You can’t expect young children to sit like little soldiers,” says McCoy. “Mom can let the kids run around the hall while Dad stands in line. It’s thankful you stand there as an adult; you can’t expect your kids to do that.”
Take snacks, drinks and activities with you. Reading books, puzzle books, boys’ games and portable checkers keep kids busy. For younger children, coloring books, small games and action figures will do. Plan activities that you know she’ll love, says McCoy. “Also plan something new and different, something you don’t see every day, or have never seen before. Grandma will help you out a bit.” Another idea: Keep individual toys wrapped, and take them out at the right moment.
Eat snacks. Carry something like bagel, which is starchy and does not require refrigeration, to offset hunger and airsickness.
Carry prescribed medications on board. Remember to put medications in an ice pack if they need refrigeration. Tell your doctor ahead of time that you will be traveling, in case a second medication is more convenient to carry.
He carries acetaminophen Something that children can suck on or swallow. McCoy says these are for normal aches and pains, as well as earaches. A swallowing or sucking motion will help clear baby’s ears if you’re flying.
Check the booster or car seats Available. If you are hiring a car, make the appropriate arrangements at your destination. Also consider having a car seat on the plane for a safer journey.
Check in at your destination – is it child proof? The same things that apply at home still count when you’re away. Are there gates at the top of the stairs? If you are staying with someone who has a gun, is it stored out of reach of children? When you have finished unwrapping the gifts, make sure that the ribbons and wrappers are snapped, so that young children do not choke or suffocate on them. And be sure to store leftovers for the party safely, so the kids won’t get in if they get up before you.