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Friday, June 14, 2024

Ways to stay healthy while on vacation

By Veita Bland, M.D. / July 14, 2023

Vacations can be fun don’t ruin it by getting sick.

The 2023 vacation season is now in full swing. For the past four years, many people were unable to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and now the urge to travel is at an all-time high. As you make plans to take a dream vacation and get your travel on, take some time to make sure you are in the best physical and mental health possible and avoid getting sick.

The number one travel mistake I repeatedly see with patients is they forget to pack their medication for vacation. Make sure you have your medication. Medications have a relatively finite period of effectiveness inside your body, which is why they are consumed daily. Invest in a pill management product. A little pill box that has all your meds in one place is invaluable. And it is more stylish than carrying a plastic baggie. Keep your medications with you. If you are traveling by plane or by ship, always place your medication in your carry-on bag and never in your checked luggage. Put your carry-on bag in the car and not in the trunk.

Avoid exposing your medication to extreme temperatures, hot and cold, because this may affect the potency of the medicine. Try to continue the same medication schedule you established at home while on vacation. Have a written list of your medications on your phone in case they are lost or stolen, you can get more. For international travel, pack extra medication in your carry bag. It is not unusual these days to hear about travelers being stranded for days in airports, so guard against being out of your meds by having a three-to-five-day excess supply of your medicine. Remember, bring your meds back home. People leaving their medications at hotels or various venues is another issue that happens frequently.

Stay hydrated at all costs. You are away from home and your routine of making sure you drink fluids has been altered. Drink adequate fluids. If you are traveling internationally, make sure the water is safe. There should be recommendations on what fluids to drink and which ones are not safe for you.

Get your Boy Scout vibe on by being prepared for any event. Pack a small First-Aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic creams, ointments and wipes for possible scrapes and abrasions. Have some antibacterial soap. Tuck in some meds for diarrhea and some electrolyte replacement tablets. Have an antihistamine for any adverse reactions.

Try new skincare products before your vacation to avoid any possible adverse reactions. Break in those new shoes before the trip to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Make sure you have your sunglasses with you and some for the children traveling with you. Pack some effective sunblock (SPF 50) and reapply it after getting out of the water. Your future wrinkles will thank you.

If you plan to do a lot of walking, try to get in shape before the trip so you can do the walk comfortably and enjoy the sights.

Remember, you are on vacation to have fun. Excessive alcohol consumption, getting intoxicated or high is not fun and could be detrimental to your health. If this is how you define fun, you may need to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Vacation is for expanding your life experiences, making memories with family and friends, and arriving back home safely so you can plan for the next adventure. Be safe out there.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at


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