Health and safety tips for a successful spring break, or any vacation

Beach SafetySpring break is upon us, which means you might be headed to a warm, sunny climate or toward the crisp mountain slopes. Wherever your destination – even if it’s at home – be sure to keep in mind these health and wellness safety tips.

Road rules
Driving accidents and fatalities at vacation spots around the United States increase 9.1 percent during spring break, especially with those traveling out-of-state.1 Stay alert, don’t drink and drive, and refrain from texting and driving.

  • Bring printed directions to your destination for long road trips, along with contact phone numbers. Map apps and GPS on phones are useful, but be prepared just in case of a dead battery or spotty cell service.
  • Store vital information, such as car registration and insurance cards, in the car glove compartment. Ensure all licensed drivers have their valid driver’s licenses so someone can take over when another gets tired.

Savor the sun . . . the smart way
Nursing a painful sunburn indoors during your break should not on the agenda! Remember, being prepared for sun exposure applies for any weather condition as long as you’re outside. The strongest sun is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and 100 percent UV protection sunglasses. The best sunglasses are ones that protect the eyes from ultraviolet light.
  • A broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must for everyone. Be adequately protected with a water-resistant, SPF of 15 or higher, sunscreen. Ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or Mexoryl SX are best.
  • Apply 15-30 minutes before going outside; re-apply regularly according to directions.

Keep germs at bay
Public vacation spots (or planes and cruise ships) entertain thousands of people and can play host to a wide variety of bacteria and viruses. Be sure to wash your hands often, and consider carrying small bottles of antibacterial gel for use in a pinch.

Combat bites and stings
Insects are everywhere in warm climates. Come prepared with bug repellant that contains 20 percent Picardin or DEET for protection.

  • Visiting tropical environments (like Central and South America), with possible exposure to mosquitos carrying Zika or West Nile virus, means you’ll need plenty of bug repellant.
  • Apply sunscreen before using bug repellant.
  • Sleep with nets, and wear pants and long sleeves as extra measures of protection.

Party on . . . just not too much
Moderation during spring break is key to a safe celebration.

  • Consume only moderate amounts of alcohol. Binge drinking is defined as four drinks for women or five drinks for men in about two hours.2 If you or someone in your group shows signs of alcohol poisoning (vomiting, loss of consciousness, irregular breathing, low body temperature and seizures) seek immediate medical attention.
  • Select a designated driver or be sure you have access to driving services.
  • Stay hydrated with water. (About three and a half liters per day for men; two and a half for women.3) This is the best and easiest way to protect yourself from the extreme heat, cold, dryness or humidity. Signs of dehydration can include headache, muscle cramps, fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness or feeling faint.

Reap the benefits of relaxation
It’s great to be active and enjoy the outdoors all day, but be sure to schedule time to just chill out. It is a vacation, after all. Relax, and enjoy the company and your family.

1http://time.com/3750449/spring-break-traffic-accidents-cars-alcohol-death/
2https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking
3https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

 

 

 

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Lisa Engber-Shomo