Holiday Travel Advisory
Planning to travel this season? Here's how to stay happy and healthy en route.
As the busy holiday season approaches, thousands of airline
travelers get ready to tackle the lines and delays. Thousands more are braving
the trains and buses and automobiles to be with family and friends. But beware,
travel today is fraught with long delays at check-in, on the tarmac, and on the
For people with serious health problems like diabetes and heart
disease -- and for young children -- all this can be a real ordeal. If you
don't plan properly, it could even be life-threatening.
How to keep everyone healthy and happy during those long travel
hours? WebMD sought the advice of a few experts.
If you have diabetes...
Eat close to your regular schedule. "That's
especially important for diabetics," says Inyanga Mack, MD, assistant
professor of family and community medicine at Temple University School of
Medicine in Philadelphia.
Since meal service has been discontinued on most flights,
getting to the airport early leaves you time to eat before the flight. Also,
bring along healthy snacks to offset the risk of hypoglycemia, whether on the
road or in the air, she tells WebMD.
Wear an appropriate medical alert bracelet. Carry the
name of an emergency contact person and your primary care physician, Mack
suggests. Keep a list of your medications and doses, so someone can get access
to your medication in an emergency.
Take medications with you, not packed in luggage. Carry
a few days' supply of your medications. Then if luggage gets lost, or if you're
trapped in the airport or on the plane for extended periods, your health won't
be in jeopardy. Always eat and take medications according to your regular
schedule, even if everything else is in turmoil.
Make sure medications are properly labeled. All
prescriptions must have the pharmaceutical label or professionally printed
label identifying the drug. If you are not permitted to board with your
medications and supplies, ask to speak with the airport's FAA representative or
the security director. You may even want to call ahead of time to be sure you
can get on board with what you need.
FAA requirements: Diabetic people carrying syringes and/or
needles must also carry the injectable medication. Diabetic people traveling in
the U.S. can bring syringes and other such equipment in carry-on bags, but
insulin vials must have a professional, printed medication label. Better yet,
keep insulin in its original box, since it has the pharmaceutical company
label. Needles must be capped. The glucose meter must have the manufacturer's
name on it. Injectable glucagon should also be in its original plastic kit with
the pre-printed pharmaceutical label.
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."