Holiday Travel Advisory
Planning to travel this season? Here's how to stay happy and healthy en route.
If you have heart disease...
Don't get dehydrated or fatigued. Get plenty of rest,
says Ronald Krone, MD, professor of medicine and cardiology at Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "If you feel fatigued, find
someone to carry your bags. Don't rush. Getting around a long airport can be
like a stress test. Carry as little as possible on board, so you're not
struggling to lift something overhead. Minimize your workload."
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.