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50+: Live Better, Longer

Holiday Travel Advisory

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

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