Going on Vacation? Here's What You Need to Know

Four ways to keep yourself safe and healthy this summer

(RxWiki News) Traveling can expose you to a number of risks — from foodborne illnesses to sunburns. To keep that exciting summer trip fun and safe, keep these four tips in mind.

1) Be Sun Safe

Sun safety is important even if it's cloudy where you're going. That's because even when the sky is full of light clouds, 80 percent of UV rays can still get through, and that means sunburns are possible.

Keep the following sun safety tips in mind:

  • Find shade during the late-morning and mid-afternoon hours.
  • Avoid long periods of exposure to sunlight.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and long pants.
  • Wear a hat that covers your head, face, neck and ears.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.
  • Wear sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection and is at least SPF 15.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours (at least), especially after you sweat, swim or towel off.

2) Check Your Medications Before Jetting Off

Don’t forget to pack all of your medications to take with you. That includes prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Make sure you have enough medications to last your entire trip. You may want to pack more than you think you need just in case unexpected events delay your return. Better to be safe than sorry — especially if you’re traveling abroad.

If you are flying to your destination, pack your medications in your carry-on rather than in your checked bag. There's always a chance that your checked bag won't make it to your final destination.

3) Be Careful About Getting Tattoos or Henna While on Vacation

If you are exposed to unclean tools and practices while getting a tattoo, you may be at risk for serious infections. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved henna or hair dye for skin use. In fact, there have been reports of serious problems after using henna, including allergic reactions like rashes and scarring.

4) Take Care of Yourself First

When you get to your destination, always remember to take care of yourself first. Follow these tips to keep yourself healthy throughout your stay:

  • Watch what you eat and drink. Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness. It can happen when you eat or drink something contaminated. You can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea by eating foods that are fully cooked and served hot, eating only fruits you have peeled yourself and drinking only sealed bottled water. Because ice is typically made with tap water, it's best to avoid it.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink fluids even when you're not thirsty — especially if you are spending a lot of time outdoors.
  • Protect yourself from bugs like mosquitoes and ticks. Use an approved insect repellent. Be sure to dress appropriately. Wear long pants, a long-sleeve shirt and a hat. If possible, sleep in an air-conditioned room that is screened properly. If that's not possible, use a mosquito net.
  • Always opt for the safest transportation option. Only ride in marked taxis, and avoid overcrowded buses and vans. Always use your seat belt and make sure to take car seats if you're traveling with young children. Some foreign countries do not utilize car seats.

For more travel tips, check out "Travel Smart This Summer."

Ask your local pharmacist any questions you have about staying safe this summer. It's especially important to discuss any medications or vaccinations you might need before traveling.

Written by Digital Pharmacist Staff

Last Updated:
May 17, 2019