Black family at beach

It might be troubling taking a trip when you have diabetes, heart disease, lung problems, arthritis or some other chronic medical condition. With a few precautions you can have a safe and fun trip.

If you are fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) requires you to follow these steps to protect yourself and others when you travel:

During travel

  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations and requirements, including mask wearing and social distancing.

After travel

  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

You do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months. You should still follow all other travel recommendations.

Medical issues can happen anytime even on your vacation. With some planned precaution you can reduce your risk. If you have a chronic condition you should wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace when you travel.

If you have diabetes make sure you talk to your doctor about antibiotics. Traveler’s diarrhea can be dangerous for people with diabetes. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to take with you. You’ll need them especially if you are going to a less developed country. You also want to make sure you have enough medication for your condition.

If you have a heart condition and you’ll be traveling longer than eight hours, consult your doctor. Air travel can affect people at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Ask your doctor for a name of a doctor that can handle an emergency at your vacation destination. If you take an anticoagulant make sure you have enough medication during your trip. Move around the plane as much as you can. Carry a note from your doctor explaining your condition just in case there is an issue about your movement. You should also have a note explaining any implants you may have. You should also understand what could affect your implant.

If you have asthma make sure you are aware of the air quality of your vacation destination. When traveling on a plane ask your airline to provide in-flight oxygen during your flight. As soon as take your seat, ask for the oxygen before the flight begins. Make sure you bring your inhaler and you have enough for the trip.

If you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis make sure you bring all of your pain medication. Invest in some high-quality rolling luggage to avoid hurting your joints. Pay for skycap service to handle your luggage if you can. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You should also move around as much as you can.

A few more tips to help make your trip even safer:

1. Bring copies of your key medical records. Doctors at your destination won’t have fast access to your medical records. Your records should include copies of prescriptions, paperwork related to any recent or ongoing medical condition and your doctor’s contact information. You should make sure you have enough of any medication you are currently taking. Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered at your vacation destination. Medical care and prescription services could be triple what you normally pay.

2. Control your eating and drinking. It may be included but you don’t have to eat and drink it all. Overeating and excessive drinking can lead to gastrointestinal distress. It can also lead to a heart attack.

3. You should purchase travel health insurance especially if you are traveling outside of the United States.

4. Talk to your doctor about any vaccines you may need.

5. Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep will help your body’s immune system.

6. Keep your hands away from your nose, ears, mouth and eyes.

7. Wash your hands often.

8. Stop smoking. Smoking lowers your immune system.

9. Disinfect your room.

10. Stay away from sick people.

11. Drink bottled water.

12. Wear your mask.

13. You should stick to well-cooked foods because high cooking temperatures kill bacteria and virus.

14. Buddy with a partner. You’ll be less of a target if you have a partner. Don’t advertise you’re traveling alone. Make sure you have a buddy system in place.

15. Observe your seatmates. If your airplane seatmate is coughing, sneezing or showing other signs of illness you should ask to have your seat moved.

16. Drink water during your plane ride. Drink six ounces of water every hour of your flight.

17. Carry hand sanitizer.

18. Know what your insurance covers.

19. Carry your medication in your carry on luggage.

20. Let someone at home know all of your medications.

21. Have an emergency contact at home that can be reached.

Think positive about your trip, reduce your risk and have fun.

If you have a fitness question or concern, write to “Tips to be Fit,” PO Box 53443, Philadelphia, PA 19105 or send an email to tipstobefit@gmail.com. Past articles can be found at www.phillytrib.com by searching “Tips to be Fit.”

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