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Safety Tips for a Healthy Spring Break


Karl Larson, MD, Family Medicine Physician at Aspirus Woodruff Clinic - Maple Street.

Many families are preparing to travel this spring break. No matter where the destination is, it’s important to know what to pack and how to prepare.

Aspirus wishes everyone a safe and healthy spring break with these health tips.

Tip #1. Remember Medications and Medical Supplies

Not having sunscreen, headache medicine and a first aid kit can make a trip unpleasant at times. However, a fun trip can turn very serious if medical supplies such as insulin, inhalers and EpiPens are needed and unavailable. Always remember to double check to account for all medications when packing.

“Not having necessary medications can change an exciting time into a dreaded nightmare, very quickly. Having medications and medical supplies for those ‘what if’ cases can be lifesaving and take a lot of unnecessary stress off worried parents,” says Karl Larson, MD, Family Medicine Physician at Aspirus Woodruff Clinic - Maple Street.

The Center for Disease Control and Preventions recommends this checklist to prepare:

Medical supplies - Glasses and contacts, medical alert bracelet or necklace, diabetes testing supplies, insulin, inhalers, EpiPens

Over-the-counter medicines - Antacid, antihistamine, motion sickness medicine, cough drops, cough suppressant, or expectorant, decongestant, pain and fever medicine (acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen), mild sedative or sleep aid

Supplies to prevent illness or injury - Hand sanitizer or antibacterial hand wipes, water purification tablets, insect repellent (with an active ingredient like DEET or picaridin), sunscreen, sunglasses and hat, earplugs

First-aid kit - Hydrocortisone cream, antibacterial or antifungal ointments, digital thermometer, Oral rehydration salts, antiseptic wound cleaner, aloe gel for sunburns, insect bite anti-itch gel or cream, bandages, disposable gloves, eye drops

Tip #2. Drink Responsibly

Drinking alcohol is a commonpractice among vacationers but can lead to dangerous consequences.

According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) approximately 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each academic year from accidental alcohol related injuries.

“Alcohol impairs judgement, slows reflexes and affects the body in several ways. Those who are drinking may have difficulty sensing danger and overestimate their abilities. They may find that they have slower reflexes and have trouble reacting quickly to surroundings. Alcohol also makes it harder for the body to regulate temperature leading to hypothermia in cold water, heat exhausting and dehydration in the sun,” says Dr. Larson.

For those consuming alcohol, knowing how to drink responsibly can prevent serious injuries and help make the most out of their spring break.

Here are a few things to consider when drinking:

  • Keep an eye on your friends
  • Have a backup plan
  • Know what and how much you're drinking
  • Trust your instincts
  • Don't leave a drink unattended
  • Don't accept drinks from people you don't know or trust
  • Check in with yourself
  • Be aware of sudden changes in the way your body feels
  • Don’t consume alcohol before or during water recreation

Tip #3. Remember Travel Vaccines and Health Information

For those traveling abroad this spring break, make sure all routine vaccines are up to date.

“Some countries may have different requirements and suggested vaccines including time frames on getting them. Receiving the necessary vaccines as soon as you can is important when preparing to travel abroad. International travel increases the chances of getting and spreading diseases that are rare or not found in United States,” says Dr. Larson.

Check CDC’s destination pages for travel health information. Before traveling, check the CDC’s webpage for the destination to see what vaccines or medicines that may be needed and what diseases or health risks are a concern at the destination.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider at least one month before you leave. Letting them know travel plans can help you get destination-specific vaccines, medicines, and information. People can also discuss health concerns as well as itinerary and planned activities with a provider to allow them to give more specific advice and recommendations.



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