Vacation Tips: Staying Healthy on Vacation

When we think of an Outer Banks vacation we envision relaxing on a sandy beach, soaking up the warm sun, having fun, and spending quality time togetherwith friends and family. However, as with any trip away from home, unplanned health problems can often arise. The stress and excitement of travel can makeyou more likely to get sick, but if you follow a few simple tips, you're more likely to stay healthy throughout your trip — and your trip will definitelybe more enjoyable.

Here are some health and safety tips to keep in mind when planning your Outer Banks vacation.

Immune Support & Prevention

Germs spread easily when people are in close contact. Plus, people often get run down and stressed out before they go away for vacation, trying to get workdone and prepare for the trip. "Changing your routine ramps up levels of stress hormones, which can wreak havoc on your immune system," says Steven Lamm,MD, a clinical assistant professor at New York University.

  • Boost your immune system. Having a sound immune system will always help fight bugs, but adding an extra boost will also help. Consider taking vitamin supplements such as vitaminC, ginger root, and green tea. In fact, it's not a bad idea to begin taking these supplements the week before your vacation. Getting sick is always adrag, but when you’re on vacation, it’s the worst.
  • Get a bottle of hand sanitizer and use it. When on vacation, you may encounter situations where you need to wash your hands, but there is no proper hand washing equipment available - this iswhere hand sanitizers come in handy. Your hand sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol if you hope to disinfect in between washing and any time youcome into contact with anything someone else might have touched. If not, they may not work properly and you could put yourself at even higher risk ofgetting sick.
  • Get disinfectant wipes and wipe down places where germs are frequent.Such places include doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, etc.

Motion Sickness

Motion sickness can occur whether going by car, train, plane, or boat. Its effects include nausea - which could lead to vomiting. This is usuallypreceded by yawning, salivation, cold sweating and dizziness. People prone to motion sickness should have a light non-fatty meal before the journey andavoid alcohol. Reading and writing should also be avoided during travel. Tablets are available to help combat motion sickness.If you are traveling bycar, it is advisable to take a rest from driving every two hours. A short walk will refresh you and help to maintain your concentration.

Sunburn Control

Bright, sunny days seem like the perfect recipe for a great Outer Banks vacation. However, if you aren't careful, the summer sun can be too much of agood thing. During the summer months, the sun's rays are especially intense. The reflection of the sun off of the ocean and sand can increase yourchance for sunburn.The tanning effect of the sun is largely caused by ultraviolet rays which reach the skin. Excessive exposure to these rays leads toburning with redness and swelling. Check out our Beach Safety page formore information.

Bites and Stings

If you are bitten by mosquitoes, sandflies, or other insects while on vacation you should apply an antihistamine cream or, if none is available, promptapplication of ice and a cooling lotion, such as calamine, will ease the pain considerably. It is possible to scratch or pull out bee stings leftbehind in the skin. This reduces the redness and swelling that results from the sting’s poison. Again, ice and cooling lotions are the recommendedtreatments.

Other more dangerous injuries can be caused by a number of creatures. If you are stung by a jellyfish, try to remove the tentacles and stingers. Thisis best done by gently rubbing the area with a handful of wet sand. Alcohol applied externally to the skin and cooling lotions will also help.

Hangover Help

A few too many cocktails combined with lots of sun (dehydration) can bring on that undesirable hangover. How to avoid? Drink lots of water while youare having cocktails and before bed have a glass of water and banana. Take a supplement with guava leaf extract – the compounds in guava help your bodyprocess alcohol more efficiently. Go easy on the Tylenol, while it helps the headache, high amounts are hard on your liver and so is the alcohol. Ifyou feel queasy the next day, avoid alcohol and have some ginger and lemon tea.

Overeating and Indulging

Overeating can lead to bloating, gas, heartburn and weight gain. Avoid this unpleasant feeling by eating smaller meals (try to avoid the buffets),choosing your foods wisely, taking digestive enzymes before you eat and having a cup of green tea afterward to aid digestion and support yourmetabolism.

Other Helpful Hints

  • Pack a first aid kit.It's a good idea to bring a "travel" first aid kit with you on vacation containing the following items: aspirin, travel-sickness pills, insectrepellent, sunscreen, and creams or sprays to relieve the effects of stings and bites.

  • Trust your instincts and use common sense.We come into contact with germs every day, and that’s just life. Living in a bubble is silly and will rob you of great experiences, so you have totake risks sometimes.
  • Consider buying vacation insurance. Trip insurance covers a variety of issues that could impact your vacation and save you a lot of heart ache, should unforeseen circumstancesoccur. Check out our Policies and Procedures for more information vacationinsurance.

With a little advance preparation and common sense, you can ease any worries that your trip will be spoiled by unexpected health problems.

Here's to a happy and healthy vacation!

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