Wellness Series: Your Healthy Vacation

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Spring is right around the corner and we’re seeing more excitement about “Spring Break” and family vacations. From choosing a destination to putting together your packing list, there are many important factors to consider when planning your getaway. No matter where you’re headed, our Medical Experts would like to lend a helping hand to ensure worry-free travels.

What causes your feet to swell during travel in flight and now vehicles?
Blood Pooling. We all know the heart pumps blood around the body, but most don’t know that the action of your leg/calf muscles along with one way “valves” in your veins help the blood get back. During lengthy sitting, gravity causes blood to pool in your legs and fluid seeps into your tissue causing edema/swelling. Heat, humidity, salty food doesn’t help. Walk/stretch often on flight, elevate feet, avoid salt.

- Dr. Eric L. Weiss

How can I determine what to eat and what not to eat when I’m traveling abroad?
You can visit the CDC website (www.cdc.gov) for health information on each country/region of the world, including what foods to avoid, how to handle foods, and what infections to look out for. Generally, if in a third-world country, drink filtered or boiled water, don’t eat fresh fruits/vegetables, be careful about dairy (pasteurized only), and cook all foods, especially meats & fish.

- Dr. Ankush K. Bansal

How can i stay healthy traveling?
Clean hands and water. Germs are passed in two main ways: fecal-oral and cough/inhale. Keeping your hands clean and drinking clean safe water is key. Stay hydrated and know where your food and water comes from. Public transportation is a main source of airborne infection, so be aware of enclosed spaces and stay in open air space as much as possible. Getting sleep and not overdoing activity that you are not up for.

- Dr. Terri Graham

When is it safe to travel abroad with my baby?
If a young baby absolutely must travel, the parents can talk to the doctor to see if the baby has any special needs. Babies 0-3 months old have weaker immune systems, so should stay home away from crowds. Those 3-6 months old have gotten some of their shots, and so have some protection. Babies over 6 months are somewhat more “sturdy” and can better handle colds, coughs, vomiting, or diarrhea.

- Dr. Robert Kwok

How does travel change your body’s circadian rhythm?
Circadian rhythm are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24 hr cycle. They respond to light and dark in an environment. Travel across time zones will often upset our body’s natural clock making it out of sync with the destination time. Rhythms dictating time for eat, sleep, hormone regulation and body temp. no longer correspond to one’s new environment.

- Dr. Michael H. Sia

Keeping your health a top priority while travelling will make for a safer and more enjoyable vacation for you and your family. If you have any questions (travel-related or not), our Medical Experts at HealthTap are always here to help. Now go pack your sunglasses, SPF 50, and enjoy your vacation!