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Holiday Travel Advisory

Planning to travel this season? Here's how to stay happy and healthy en route.

If you have heart disease... continued...

If traveling abroad, give yourself a day to recover. "You should not be on a go-go schedule," Krone tells WebMD. "Allow time to get plenty of rest, and make sure you're well hydrated."

Carry a copy of your ECG. If you've had heart bypass surgery, obtain a note from your surgeon. This should detail the number of veins and arteries that were used to do the bypass, Krone tells WebMD. If you're in a foreign country, and an emergency catheterization is necessary, "the cardiologist at your destination would know exactly how to perform the catheterization. It would make the whole thing much simpler," he says.

If you're taking Coumadin, and will be abroad a month or more, consider making arrangements at your destination to have your blood checked. Many countries require that you see a local physician to monitor your blood and write a prescription if necessary. The U.S. embassy can easily make these arrangements, says Krone.

If traveling with kids...

Have a game plan. "Really consider the amount of time you're going to be waiting," says Andrea McCoy, MD, director of primary care at Temple University Children's Medical Center in Philadelphia. "It's tough to travel with kids to begin with, and delays and changes in time zones make it even more difficult," she tells WebMD.

Let kids run when there's a chance. "You can't expect young kids to sit like little soldiers," she says. "Mom can let kids run in a hallway while Dad stands in line. It's thankless enough to stand there as a grown-up; you can't expect your kids to do it."

Take along snacks, drinks, and activities. Books to read, puzzle books, game boys, and portable checkers keep kids busy. For younger kids, coloring books, little games, action figures will work. Plan activities you know they will like, says McCoy. "Also plan something new and different, something they don't see every day, or have never seen before. The novelty will help a little bit." Another idea: keep individual toys wrapped, then bring them out at critical intervals.

Take light snacks. Carry something like bagels, which are starchy and don't require refrigeration, to offset both hunger and airsickness.

Carry prescription medications on board. Remember to put medications in an icepack if they need to be refrigerated. Let your doctor know ahead of time that you will be traveling, in case a second-choice medicine is more convenient to carry.

Carry Tylenol or acetaminophen -- something kids can suck or swallow. These are for normal aches and pains, plus ear pain, says McCoy. The swallowing or sucking action will help clear a child's ears.

Make sure booster or car seats are available. If you're renting a car, make the appropriate arrangements at your destination. Also, consider having a car seat on board for a safer flight.

Check at your destination -- is it child proof? Are there gates at the tops of stairs? Are guns stored out of children's reach? Are ribbons and wrappings picked up, so children won't suffocate or choke on them? Is leftover party food cleaned up, so early-rising children won't get into it?

Reviewed on November 06, 2003

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