By Dr. Amit Arwindekar, Medical Director, UnitedHealthcare Global
With spring break coming up soon, many Florida residents may be planning an international getaway. While springtime travel can be a chance to reconnect with loved ones or visit someplace new, it can also present challenges. Several factors can lead to delays or cancellations, but even more serious is the fact that nearly one in 10 international passengers may require medical attention abroad.
To help minimize stress and reduce the risk of health-related issues while traveling, here are five tips to think about:
Anticipate potential health issues. Consider a wellness checkup with a primary care doctor before departure to talk about travel plans. Packing a portable health kit may also prove helpful, so consider including items such as anti-inflammatory pain relievers, first-aid supplies, earplugs, sunscreen and sunburn relief, motion-sickness remedies, and insect repellents.
Refill medications. Before any trip, it is a good idea to refill medications and pack extra doses in case of travel delays. When traveling by airplane, always pack medication in carry-on luggage to help ensure access. For international travel, be sure to check prescription drug restrictions for each country to help avoid the risk of medications being confiscated.
Reduce jet lag. People taking to the air can face the possibility of jet lag. To help avoid this, get lots of rest before a trip, and drink plenty of water before, during, and after flights. Then, make a point to get plenty of sunlight during the day, which can help to reset the body’s internal clock. Proper sleep can help strengthen the immune system, better regulate appetite, and aid in recovery from injury.
Stay active. Studies have shown that exercise is a great choice for helping to reduce stress and improve mood. Incorporating physical activity into sightseeing is one strategy for staying active. Using a fitness app may also help, providing access to thousands of workouts, from high-intensity interval training to yoga, and meditation too.
Get protection. Prior to traveling, take time to review your health insurance plan and confirm what it covers. For additional protection abroad, travel medical plans may cover the cost of medical care and offer additional services. These may include direction to appropriate facilities and coordinated care with local health providers.
Whether traveling, considering these tips can help avoid health issues, promote well-being, and protect against unexpected complications.