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Tips for Healthy Travel for the Holidays

Last week was Thanksgiving in the United States, and the holidays are around the corner for the whole world. Many people travel to visit family during these months, including some who may be traveling with a chronic illness. We at NeedyMeds have some tips for healthy travel over the holidays along with suggestions for those with potential health concerns.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest seeing a doctor before travel and learning about your destination, especially if traveling out of the United States. Consider any special health needs for children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, chronic illness, or weakened immune systems. If you are traveling abroad, the CDC has a resource to see what inoculations are required and other things to keep in mind about different destinations.

  • If you are flying, give yourself enough time to make it through parking, security, and other lines. Remember to be patient when encountering delays in travel.

  • If you are driving, plan your route ahead of time and pack a GPS, smart phone, or up-to-date road maps as a backup. Remember to get out of the car to stretch and get fresh air periodically.

  • No matter how you are traveling, wash your hands often. Traveling by plane can put one in tight quarters with people from all over the country or the world, potentially exposing you to viruses you may not have antibodies for. We have more tips to avoid colds and flu here.

  • Sleep well the night before travel. While anticipation and excitement can make restful sleep difficult, we have tips for healthy sleep.

  • Eat well before hitting the road.  A wholesome diet not only keeps one’s immune system in fighting shape and gives ample energy for the trip ahead, but it will help travelers avoid expensive and unhealthy junk food.

  • If you have a chronic illness, doctors recommend taking a health history information sheet (HHIS) that includes diagnosis, physician and emergency contact information, medications and dosages info. Travelers should bring a copy of all prescriptions along with their medication in its original packaging. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has guidelines for passengers with disabilities and other health conditions to avoid delays or complications if traveling by air. A medic alert bracelet or first aid kit will also ease the mind of those worried about managing their illness abroad.

While we do not have information on programs that can help with traveling for the holidays, NeedyMeds has resources for those in need of assistance traveling to medical appointments, including specialists far away. For help, search for your diagnosis and look for Travel Expenses or Transportation (Air) under Services to find programs that offer assistance. Some programs may offer transportation for non-medical purposes such as grocery shopping. There are also programs that offer meal delivery or food pantries for those in need with certain diagnoses, which can be found under Services as well. For more information, check our website or call our toll-free helpline at 1-800-503-6897.

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