With spring break on the horizon, and summer just around the corner, many Americans will be planning and preparing for upcoming travels. Whether you are going on a road trip to visit family or traveling abroad, here are some tips to make sure you prepared for your journey.
1. Prescription medications: if you or your family members take prescription medications, it is important to make sure you have an adequate supply to last the duration of your trip. One or two weeks prior to your departure, check your prescription bottles and reach out to your doctor’s office if you are in need of a refill. If traveling by plane, be sure to pack your prescription medications in your carry – on bag, in the event your checked luggage were to be misplaced or lost.
2. Over-the-counter medications: you may consider packing some over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, antibiotic ointment and band-aids. If you will be hiking or going on other outdoor adventures, bring a first aid kit along.
3. Health information: having a list of your medications, allergies, medical diagnoses and contact information for your physicians is advised when traveling.
4. Medical alert bracelets: if you typically wear a medical alert bracelet, be sure to not leave that behind at home. Wear it as you usually would.
5. Vaccines: if your vacation will be taking you abroad, be sure that you are up to date on the recommended vaccines. Visit www.cdc.gov and click the link for “travelers health” for a list of what vaccines are advised depending on what country you will be visiting. Ask your doctor about any vaccine questions and for information on where you can receive those vaccines. If you need vaccines, plan to receive those at least two weeks prior to your departure.
6. Health insurance: if you have health insurance, be sure to bring your wallet card along.
7. Sunscreen: protect your skin. Sunscreen does have an expiration date, so make sure yours is in date before you lather up.
8. Cold weather destinations: if you will be hitting the ski slopes or venturing to other destinations with extreme cold, be sure to pack all of your winter gear. Wear layers, have appropriate gloves, hats, etc. Be aware of the temperatures and amount of time outdoors to prevent frostbite and other injuries that can occur with prolonged exposure to extreme cold.
9. Hydrate and healthy foods: traveling can mean long days, long flights and long car rides. Be sure to stay hydrated and eat healthy foods. Eating healthy can help to support your immune system and keep you feeling good during your travels.
10. Have fun: we hope your time away from home is a chance to laugh, have fun and make some great memories!
If you have any other travel questions, be sure to check in with your primary care physician!
Dr. Jennifer Teegarden
If you have a teenager at home, you likely know all too well about sleepy teens. Teenagers need on average about 9 to 10 hrs of sleep at night, but most of them aren’t getting this amount of rest consistently. Teenagers are growing, not just physically, but their brains are also developing, increasing their need for more sleep.
So, why are they not getting the recommended amount of sleep? Well, most teens brains are engineered to want to stay up late and sleep in. However, most middle schools and high schools start early, with most teens arriving to school each morning by 8 am and some as early as 7 am. This translates into early wake times. Sports, late evening practices, extra – curricular activities and increased amounts of homework often mean late nights for many teens.
Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation in teens can have significant consequence and affect them in a variety of ways. Teens lacking in sleep may often be more moody or irritable. Parents may also notice an increase in more risk – taking behaviors such as fast driving, smoking, and drinking alcohol with chronic sleep deprivation. There has also been an association between lack of sleep and an increase in reported car accidents and teens falling asleep at the wheel. School performance often suffers as well and should be a red flag if parents are noticing a change in their teen’s grades. Attention, memory, and decision making all are affected by not getting enough zzz’s.
So, if this sounds all too familiar with your teen, what can you do to help? Well, there are a number of actions parents can take to help their teens get the rest they need.
1. Sleep schedule: yes, teens can benefit from a sleep schedule. Having a nightly routine and sticking to it. A consistent bedtime and wake time can help.
2. Avoid oversleeping: (insert teen eyeroll). Sleeping in might just be your teen’s favorite weekend pastime. However, sleeping in until noon on Sundays is going to make it difficult to get to bed on time Sunday evening.
3. Early afternoon naps: If your teen is tired after school and he or she has time to nap before their evening practice or activity, a 30 minute nap can help provide some much needed rest.
4. Avoid screens: now, this is a hard one. Avoiding use of TV’s, smart phones and other screens at least 1 hour prior to bedtime is advised.
5. Avoid caffeine: teens should have limited caffeine consumption. Avoiding all caffeine during the afternoon and evening hours can help as well.
If your teen is persistently tired despite implementing some actions to increase their rest, or you notice excessive snoring, contact their primary care physician for further evaluation and recommendations.
Dr. Jennifer Teegarden