Holiday time means spending countless hours traveling to see friends and family, and with this comes more opportunities to stress out and maybe even catch a bug. Since we’re going into peak flu season, the No. 1 thing you can do is have everyone in your family get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Here are more tips and tricks to help you travel safely this month:

  1. Consider wearing compression gear. If you have to fly or ride in a car for more than two hours, you may want to get a set of compression socks or leggings to help promote circulation and prevent blood clots while you’re sitting still. More than 350,000 Americans experience blood clots each year.1
  2. And while we’re on the subject of sitting still while traveling, remember to move and stretch if you’re flying. Get up and walk the aisle at least once every hour. If you’re driving, plan to make a quick pit stop every two hours. Have everyone get out of the car, walk around, and stretch for a couple minutes. If walking on the plane or stopping the car isn’t convenient, try wiggling your toes, rotating your ankles, and raising your knees toward your chest.
  3. Build your own travel backpack. Whether you’re flying, driving, or taking the train, unavoidable delays can happen. Stock an easily identifiable backpack with items to help you stay comfortable, sleep, and pass time:
    travel pillow
    collapsible water bottle
    hand sanitizer, wet wipes
    sleeping mask
    earplugs
    prescription medications
    tissues
    lightweight blanket
    change of undies
    chargers
    travel socks/footies
    toiletries: mouth care, deodorant
    non-perishable snacks: granola bars, raisins, trail mix, nuts, gum, flavored drink powder
    eyewear: sunglasses, contact lenses and case, cleaning solution
    first-aid kit: bandages, tape, antiseptic, pain reliever, decongestant, antihistamine, throat/cough lozenges, eye drops, eye wash
    “old school” entertainment: playing cards, paperback novel, crossword puzzle book, journal, travel-sized games that two to four people can play

    If you’re traveling by air, make sure that all contents will clear TSA security.

  4. Try to avoid airborne germs that could lead to illnesses such as a cold or flu. If you’re seated next to someone who appears sick, you can do a couple things: keep a disposable mask in your pocket; place one over your nose and mouth to help protect you from infected droplets from a sneeze or cough. Or, to seem less obvious, you can pull a scarf or blanket over your nose and mouth. If space is available, you can privately ask to be assigned a seat away from the sick passenger.
  5. Don’t be afraid to disinfect things you touch. If you’re renting a car, clean the interior surfaces—including seatbelt straps—as well as door handles, with sanitizing wipes. Then spritz a disinfecting spray all over the car and give it time to dry.
  6. Use a ride-share service to run an errand. Parking is a major challenge with holiday shopping, and it’s compounded when you’re in a strange city. Skip the driving altogether by scheduling a ride-share service. Not only is this option incredibly convenient, but also you can “ride-pool” with a couple of family members and split the cost.
  7. Speaking of which, ride-sharing is a great option if you plan to enjoy adult beverages safely and responsibly while traveling. That way everyone can toast with Aunt Edna’s spiked eggnog without concern—except for the calories, of course.
  8. We all know that holiday eating is an exercise in self-control and diplomatic relations. No one wants to pass on Uncle Edgar’s 17-cheese macaroni salad for fear of insulting him. What to do? Sample everything. Place only half your regular serving of a dish on your plate. You can always go back for seconds. But if you eat more slowly, and enjoy the company and conversation, you might just be able to get away with only one helping. Then maybe you can enjoy a second sampling, on a smaller plate, as a snack later.
  9. Stay hydrated. Most of us will spend a lot of holiday time eating rich foods, so remember to include water with your meals. You might also want to get in the habit of starting each day with a glass of water, and either sipping a water bottle throughout the day or setting a reminder on your smart device to drink a glass every few hours. Ooh! That sounds like a great New Year’s resolution!
  10.   Download the Teladoc app to your phone or tablet before you leave home. In case of a non-emergency illness, our board-certified doctors can help make diagnoses and suggest treatments for you and your family 24/7, anywhere you are. Go ahead and make sure your account is updated with the latest info on primary care doctors, eligible dependents, and medications. You can also select a pharmacy that’s near where you’ll be traveling in case a medically necessary prescription is recommended.

Teladoc wishes you and your entire family a safe, joy-filled holiday season! Fa-la-la-la-la!

References

1https://www.webmd.com/dvt/deep-vein-thrombosis-prevent-dvt#1

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