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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