The Top 5 Ways to Have a Healthy Vacation

March 29, 2016

Teira Gunlock

SUMMER! Songs are written about it, vacations planned, and lifelong memories created. You have been waiting for this all winter, and finally it’s here! 

Last summer, nearly 60% of Americans took a summer vacation. That’s about 190 million people traveling to sandy beaches, the mountainous west, or lively urban cities. And no matter where you may plan on going, you should be prepared for anything.

Make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch with these 5 tips for the ultimate healthy (and happy) vacation:

1. Don’t Get Burned

Your mother has probably been telling you this for ages––and with good reason. Sunburns can be a painful nuisance, especially on vacation, but more importantly, sunburns increase your risk of skin cancer.

Consistently and adequately applying sunscreen (at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection) is the best way for you to enjoy the sunny weather while protecting your skin from harm. The operative word here is "consistently." Many people apply sunscreen when they first go out into the sun and forget to reapply. Sunscreen should be reapllied often, even if the sunscreen says "waterproof" or "sweatproof."

No one is immune from sunburns, either. No matter the skin tone or potential to tan, everyone should practice safe sun exposure by lathering up in SPF. 

2. Protect Your Eyes

UV rays can cause harm to the retina, cornea and lens of your eye, possibly leading to cataracts, photokeratitis (an eye sunburn of sorts), or pinguecula (trust us, this one isn’t fun).

When sporting your shades of choice, make sure they block both UVA and UVB rays by 99 to 100 percent. The darkness of the lens doesn’t affect UV blocking at all, so anything without clear UV protection labeling should be disregarded. Show off some style and keep your eyes safe!

3. pack a first-aid kit 

“Always Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout’s motto. It is always better to carry more supplies than you need than  have to go in search of supplies. A basic first aid kit is a must for any vacation.

A solid first aid kit should include: bandaids; antibiotic wipes and ointment; sterile gauze; tweezers (for splinters); athletic tape; and some packets of pain relievers. Being ready for any mishaps when you’re on vacation is better than trying to find the nearest drugstore in an unfamiliar place. Before you've finished packing, check out Johns Hopkins University's comprehensive list of things to pack in a traveler’s first-aid kit.

4. remember that Accidents Happen

Carry your health insurance card you and your ID with you at all times. It may sound silly, but have your emergency contact information stored and ready to go. This seems like a no-brainer, but ask yourself, “Would someone know whom to call if I needed help while away from home?”

This can be as simple as putting all the information in your phone –– your family members, primary care doctor, and telemedicine provider. You can take it one step further and place cards with all the information in your wallet or purse.

5. Bring Enough Supplies

If you have a regular medication, plan ahead and be ready for any potential travel delays. It’s better to have too much than not enough. To make sure you’ve got all the bases covered, write down every prescription you have in case your luggage is lost and you need a refill immediately––or scan your prescription labels and carry copies with you.

If you forget to bring a prescription or lose it altogether, use your telemedicine benefit and call First Stop Health so we can provide you with a Rx to get you through vacation until you get home.

Hopefully your summer vacation will be smooth sailing (even if you’re not near water). Whether you’re a Type A planner or more of a last-minute adventurer, your First Stop Health telemedicine benefit can always be your first stop if you need to talk to a doctor about a medical situation and you are not sure what to do. Most minor illnesses can be diagnosed and treated over the phone. If not, the doctor can point you in the right direction.

Originally published Mar 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM.