Summertime Vacation Health Tips

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Summer is the most common time people choose to plan vacations. Listed below are some tips to help you and your family avoid issues associated with travel during the summer.

Air Travel

If you choose to travel by plane, it is important to remember that the terminal and airplane environment can be hazardous to your health.

  • The airplane cabin is a low humidity environment that could potentially cause you to become dehydrated. It is vital to drink 8 ounces of water every hour that you are in the airplane. To avoid confiscation of your liquids during security, be sure to purchase a large bottle of water in the terminal prior to boarding.
  • Germs are everywhere! The most common way of contracting cold and flu viruses is through physical contact. Be sure to bring a travel size hand sanitizer and use it after contact with all surfaces and people.
  • The most frequent issue with flying is when your ears pop due to pressure changes during takeoff and landing. The best way to control this issue is to bring a pack of sugar free gum with you and chew a piece during takeoff and landing.
  • Extended air travel longer than 4 hours can put many people at risk for the development of blood clots in the legs, due to immobility and cramped seating. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing a blood clot include: use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, cancer, recent surgery, older age, obesity, history of previous blood clots and family history of clotting. A helpful way to prevent this is by walking around the plane, and by not crossing your legs while seated. Compression socks and stockings can also be worn to increase blood flow in the legs. Compression leg wear can be found in pharmacy retail stores, including the over the counter department of Ochsner Pharmacy.

Medication Adherence

Time changes associated with long distance travel can alter your normal medication routine. It is important to account for these time changes in order to stay on schedule with your medications.

  • Keep a pill box containing all your medications for the duration of your travel. Be sure to bring along the medication bottles as well, in case your travel plans are delayed or extended.
  • Set alarms on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medications at the appropriate time of day. The time that you take your medications may need to be altered due to changes in time zones.


Neglecting to drink water can have serious consequences, especially in the hot summer months. Dehydration can result in heat exhaustion that can lead to heat stroke. Some of the more serious symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, lightheadedness, high fever, lack of sweating, a flushed or red appearance to the skin, nausea, vomiting and seizures. If you suspect that you are dehydrated and have any of these signs, first get out of the heat and seek help. Preventing dehydration is easier than trying to treat it. Tips to counter dehydration include:

  • Drink water before you become thirsty! Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
  • If you’re exercising in extreme heat or for over 60 minutes, supplement water with sports drinks that contain electrolytes.
  • Other healthy fluids such as milk, soymilk, tea, 100% fruit juices and even foods with high water content like pineapple, watermelon, yogurt and pudding can supplement your daily water intake.
  • Always carry around a surplus of water when traveling in the summer.

Useful Over the Counter Medications to Pack

As you travel to different environments, you may encounter a variety of situations in which you may need an OTC product that is not accessible at your travel destination. Bringing along these products can help you deal with unforeseen situations during your vacation.



Motion sickness

Dramamine, Bonine

Water-clogged ears

Mack’s ear plugs (preventative), Swim-EAR Drops (treatment)

Seasonal Allergies

Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, Flonase, Nasonex

Dry eyes

Clear Eyes, Systane

Cuts, Scrapes, Burns

Neosporin, Polysporin, First Aid Kit

Poison Ivy

Topical Benadryl, Calamine Lotion

Severe allergic reaction

Epipen (prescription only)

Diarrhea/Upset Stomach

Immodium, Pepto-Bismol

Headache/Minor Aches and Pains

Tylenol, Aleve, Aspirin

*The above medications may interact with other prescription medications; therefore, if taking any medications please consult with physician or pharmacist for drug-drug interactions.

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