by Kirsten Falcone, RN
Stay Healthy on Spring Break
Spring Break is quickly approaching, and some college students choose to travel south for much-needed warmer weather, sunshine, and relaxation. In order to benefit the most from spring break, there are some key health items to remember.
Protect yourself from the sun. The shortened daylight associated with the winter months has taken its toll on all of us by this time of year. But that is no reason to forget to protect yourself from sunburn. Use sunscreen of at least SPF 15 (preferably much higher) and reapply often, wear cover-ups and a hat, avoid the sun between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and wear sunglasses. If (but preferably before) you notice a sunburn, get out of the sun, and keep hydrated. Mild sunburns can be soothed with over-the-counter pain medications and cool compresses. Avoid any more sun exposure until the current burn has resolved.
Be smart when drinking alcohol. The healthiest choice is one glass (five ounces) of red wine per day for women and two glasses per day for men. The liver cannot process more than one ounce of hard liquor, five ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer per hour. In addition, drink one eight-ounce glass of water per alcoholic drink, if at all possible, to prevent the effects of dehydration. Make sure one person is a designated driver, or arrange another mode of transportation. Also be aware of people who might prey on unsuspecting tourists.
Be aware of diseases and health risks. This year the Zika virus is even more of a concern than last year. If you are traveling to anywhere on the globe that is on the CDC’s high-risk list (including parts of Florida and Texas), (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html), you will need to use mosquito repellent especially during the daylight hours in order to reduce the likelihood of Zika mosquitoes transmitting the virus to you.
Many travelers also come down with “Montezuma’s revenge” (food poisoning), but there are tips on avoiding that, too. The CDC has an app called “Can I Eat This?” For more information, go to this link: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/apps-about. When you go to the link, you can also download other helpful travel apps.
Wherever you plan to go, near or far, have a safe, relaxing and healthful Spring Break!
For more comprehensive information on enjoying a healthful Spring Break, visit these Web sites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):