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We have all heard the news about travelers dying on vacation. Things do happen on vacations. But should a vacation cost you your life? There are tips that can help insure you have a stress free time on vacation.

Just like I end my column with consult your physician, you should consult your physician before you go on a vacation. Your doctor can advise you on any health issue you have that might affect you on vacation. They can update your immunizations. Not every traveler will need new shots before they travel. You should understand the risks and the vaccinations required before traveling. It could not only save you from a rare illness, but it could keep you from spreading an illness when you return. You may also need to show proof from a physician that you have been vaccinated to obtain a travel visa.

Make sure you take your medications and have a plan for the loss of your medications. If you have a rare disease make sure your doctor helps you with getting help during your vacation. They can contact the local hospital.

Get a dental exam. You should have cavities filled, poorly fitting dentures adjusted and any other dental problems fixed before you leave. Don’t let a toothache spoil your trip.

Travel insurance will reimburse your expenses. If you’re robbed, your luggage is lost, you end up in a political coup or natural disaster or you need to go to the hospital while on the road travel insurance will provide you with the security you need. If you end up losing your life, travel insurance will allow your family to bring your body home without paying tens of thousands of dollars and not get wrapped up in a lot of red tape. Make sure you examine your travel insurance policy before you leave. You need to know what is not covered. Some plans won’t cover some of the crazier things that people try on vacation. You can ask your insurance company to give you a list of doctors in countries you are visiting. Talk to them about medication coverage too. You should know how to get help during a medical emergency. Know the emergency numbers. Every country has its own emergency code. You can ask “Siri” or “Google” for the codes.

If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Wear sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet light over the years can damage the lenses of the eye. Any sunglasses are better than no sunglasses. Here is what you should look for in a pair of sunglasses. The tint is not what blocks ultraviolet light. It’s the special chemicals added when the lenses are made. Brown or amber tinted lenses block the sun’s rays best but they sometimes distort your vision. Gray and green lenses don’t block as much ultraviolet light but they don’t distort your vision. Wraparound frames are good, they block light above and below the eyes, but they shouldn’t block your side vision. Your sunglasses should be dark enough so you don’t see your eyes in a mirror. Plastic lenses are light but glass lenses don’t scratch as easily. Mirrored lenses offer extra protection against glare but scratches are a problem. Double gradient lens sunglasses are darker at the top and the bottom. These glasses are good for sports such as tennis and skiing. These glasses are not good for highly reflective sports such as bicycling and water sports. Everyone’s sunglass needs are different but everyone needs sunglasses. If you have special problems you should see a professional.

Watch your drinking while on vacation. When you drink alcohol, you dull your senses and your reaction time is slowed down. This will make you more. Be aware of what you are actually drinking, and only take drinks directly from the bartender. Never leave your drink unattended.

You can get some help from a federal program, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This is important if while you are traveling if there is a natural disaster, war or political concern that could endanger you. The U.S. government will know where you are and can send you travel warnings and alerts to keep you informed of situations on your vacation.

More travel safety tips:

1. Put your money in a secure place.

2. Make a hard and a digital copy of all your travel documents.

3. Don’t publicly display your money.

4. Research the local laws and customs of the country you are visiting.

5. Don’t trust people too quickly.

6. Know your limits.

7. Wear a helmet and seatbelts during all recreational activities.

8. Keep your friends and family updated on your trip in there email.

9. Don’t use social media to inform others of your trip. Others are watching it too.

10. Be wary of free public Wi-Fi. Hackers can access your information through free public Wi-Fi.

11. Always be aware of your surroundings.

12. Before you leave for your trip stop your mail delivery.

13. Don’t hitch hike.

14. Don’t wear expensive jewelry.

15. Beware of scams when travelling.

Everyone enjoys a little fun in the sun, but the sun can be very dangerous for your skin no matter how dark you’re skin may be. When you want to get the maximum protection from the sun here are a few tips:

1. Don’t do a lot of activities outside if it is too hot.

2. Avoid running between the hours of 11:00AM and 3:00PM.

3. Don’t take of your shirt.

4. Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

5. Wear insect repellent.

Remember you may not be ready for the heat. Heat even on vacation can cause heat related illnesses and even death. These illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. All these illnesses are caused by overexposure to the heat and loss of body fluids. Two thirds of your body is composed of water making it the body’s most vital nutrient. Water provides a valuable source of minerals like calcium and magnesium. It carries nutrients to organs by way of the bloodstream. Water also helps digest food and absorbs the nutrients into the body. It carries away bodily waste products and cools the body through perspiration. Water moistens mucous membranes and lubricates the joints. Water can also help to prevent some serious heat related medical problems.

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of water during extremely hot weather. You have to drink water, or you’ll have some serious problems. We lose about a half-gallon of body fluid during the day. That’s about 2% of your body weight. If you are active, you’ll lose even more and this could be dangerous. With a 3% fluid loss, you’d have a hard time maintaining your body temperature. With a 4% fluid loss, your muscles stop working properly. A 5% fluid loss is life threatening. At 150 lbs., a 5% fluid loss is only 7 1/2 lbs. That 5% fluid loss can affect the body in a variety of other adverse ways.

Water is the best liquid you can drink. You should drink small amounts of water at 10 to 20 minute intervals. The body doesn’t store water very well, so if you drink a lot of it at one time your body will just get rid of it. Read your body, if it’s running out of energy or it seems affected by the heat, stop. Drink only bottled water in most countries.

Vacations are fun. I hope I get to have one this year.

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to “Tips to be Fit,” P.O. Box 53443, Philadelphia, PA 19105 or tipstobefit@gmail.com. If you’ve missed an article of “Tips to be Fit” just search “Tips to be Fit.”

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