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Winter Health Travel Tips

January 14th, 2004

Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or heading for a ski weekend, travel in winter can be extra draining - so make sure you’re extra prepared. Over 59 million Americans are expected to leave home this season; if you’re one of them - whether you’re driving or flying - the following points will get you where you’re going safer and healthier.

If You’re Driving¡¦
¡¦you should obey the rules of the road, the same as you would in any other season. But because of the winter weather, careful drivers should be following some additional rules.
  • Keep updated on the latest weather conditions along your route. If it sounds rough, plan an alternate route.
  • Slow down, even if it means going well below the speed limit. When visibility is low, dropping your speed can keep you more aware of dangers up ahead. Slower speeds also mean that your car’s tires have a better grip on the road, and thus you’re less likely to lose control if you hit an ice patch.
  • If you can, plan to travel by daylight and use major highways. Also, if possible, don’t travel alone.
  • If your vehicle does break down in the cold, stay in it and run the engine and heater only in short bursts. Crack a window to make sure dangerous carbon dioxide doesn’t build up.

If You’re Flying¡¦

¡¦patience is key to keeping your stress-level down between long lines and delays. Vigilance is key to keeping your body fit between crowded, germ-filled airports and airplanes.
  • Wash your hands often. Airports are the crossroads of the world - and the world’s germs.
  • Winter air is dry - and so is the recycled air you breathe on planes. Make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic, decaffeinated beverages to keep from dehydrating.
  • Pack all your medication in your carry-on; it will be there if you need it on the flight, and if your checked luggage ends up in the North Pole, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
  • Though rare, blood clots can occur in your legs as a result of sitting still in a cramped seat (the condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis, or Economy Class Syndrome). The risk is highest for passengers on flights longer than eight hours, and passengers who have a history of or high susceptibility to clotting episodes. Getting up and walking around during the flight can help prevent them.
  • Make sure to get plenty of rest, before, during and after your flight. Sleeping on a plane can be difficult for some, and jet lag can make sleeping hard once you arrive. But if you don’t rest properly, your immune system can falter and colds and other infections can be harder to get rid of.

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