Spring Break Safety Tips
The end of another winter is rapidly approaching, and what better way to welcome the spring thaw than by heading off to a warm and exotic destination for some fun in the sun. Spring break! And what better way to ruin that much-anticipated vacation than by acquiring traveler’s diarrhea or a nasty sunburn. Here a few things to keep in mind when planning this year’s spring break adventure.
Think Before You Drink the Water
Traveler’s diarrhea is a common condition and is typically caused by pathogens acquired from improperly prepared food or untreated water. This is not always possible to entirely avoid, but by only drinking bottled water, carbonated beverages, or liquids that have been boiled, one can sometimes avoid this troublesome issue. Depending on where you are going, consider bringing along water purification tablets if access to clean water will be a problem. Also, make sure foods are cooked completely if you venture off the beaten path, and avoid eating any local produce without properly washing it first or peeling it yourself. Bringing along a small container of hand sanitizer can also help keep you from getting sick; this is especially helpful for children’s hands.
Don’t forget that other sources of water can also be a source of infection – in particular, the kind you swim in! Avoid dirty looking beaches and swimming pools, and make sure you wear protective footwear when wading in the water to avoid cuts from hidden debris, or stings from the local aquatic wildlife.
If you are planning on traveling to an exotic locale, I recommend checking the CDC website for traveler’s health (www.cdc.gov/travel) to see if there are any local diseases you need to be aware of. The website will also list any vaccines that you may have to get prior to traveling. Some of these vaccines are not safe for children, so be sure to check with your pediatrician before they receive any of them. It is also a good idea to make sure everyone is current with their routine immunizations, such as tetanus and Hepatitis A before traveling.
If you or your children have any underlying medical conditions that will require bringing along medications, make sure you carry your medication in your carry-on luggage and have a copy of your prescription or a doctor’s note when going through customs.
Avoid the Burn
A few other things to consider – if you are traveling somewhere sunny (and hopefully you are – it’s spring break after all), make sure you bring along plenty of sunscreen, and use it frequently! It may seem obvious, but many vacations have been ruined by a sunburn acquired that first day out on the beach.
Beat the Heat
Heat illness is another thing to avoid as you start to thaw out. Make sure you are drinking plenty of (clean) water while basking in the sun. For the little kids, make sure there is some shade available so they can cool off from time to time. Also, always have water and snacks on hand.
Hopefully these tips will keep everyone happy and healthy and ensure a safe return with nothing but great pictures and wonderful memories! Happy Travels!