Tips to prepare for a medical emergency away from home
The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker finds that 60 percent of Americans are planning to travel this summer. Despite rising gas prices, this figure is up from 2010 and 2011. The kids are out of school, the weather is warm, and there is plenty to do. But without the proper precautions, a summer vacation can quickly become a travel nightmare.
For anyone planning on making a trip this summer, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Jonathan Fong, M.D. from the Venice-Ocala Heart Institute has these tips on staying healthy during a getaway.
Travel Mistake #1 - Move Around During Long Trips
Shift positions and keep active, moving on a consistent basis. Avoiding long periods of immobility as you travel this summer will help to prevent the formation of deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
“These are blood clots that can form in your extremities and may show no symptoms before they cause an issue. The non-specific signs of DVT include pain, swelling, redness, warmness, and engorged superficial veins in the leg,” Dr. Fong says.
This can become a serious, life-threatening problem. Especially on long car rides and plane flights, make sure that you are taking breaks to walk and stretch every couple of hours to avoid this problem.
Travel Mistake #2 - Identify Where the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is Located
For those who have a history of heart problems, it is vital to know and make sure others around you know where the AEDs are and how to use them in case of a heart attack episode. The prevalence of AEDs in public places continues to grow and, when used properly, they can be a lifesaving tool with the ability to prevent a summer trip from ending in tragedy.
Dr. Fong recommends, “To learn how to safely operate a defibrillator, research an area educational course, provided at most Red Cross locations.”
Travel Mistake #3 - Talk to Your Doctor and Carry Extra Prescriptions
Discuss your trip with your physician. For those with regular prescriptions, make sure that you pick up and carry extra medication along with a prescription for your medication in your carry-on luggage, just in case you are stranded while traveling this summer.
Depending on your destination, you might need to take additional precautions to avoid drug-related side effects. “For example, some drugs cause photosensitivity. If you're heading for a tropical beach, your doctor might advise you to limit your exposure to the sun or wear sunblock with a high SPF,” Dr. Fong shares.
Travel Mistake #4 - Carry Identification and Medical Information on Your Person
Keeping an I.D. and critical medical information in an easily found place on your person, such as your wallet or in a fanny pack, is one of the smartest precautions one can take. This should include a driver's license, phone numbers of relatives, information about allergies and medical conditions, and any other significant information.
“If you were to have a sudden medical problem, this would help to identify you and provide speedy access to a medical history for relevant personnel, “ Dr. Fong says.
Travel Mistake #5 - Plan Heart Healthy Travel Activities
Taking a vacation does not mean taking a break from cardiovascular fitness. Wherever you go, there will be plenty of opportunities to get your exercise, even if you’re in vacation mode.
Hopping aboard a cruise ship? There’s plenty of room to walk around each day to keep your heart and muscles pumping.
Staying in a romantic hotel for a few days? Seek out nearby health clubs where you can get a day pass, or find out if the hotel you’ll be staying at offers gym services.
Keep these tips in mind and enjoy your travel in the best of health this summer and many more seasons to come.
About the Venice-Ocala Heart Institute:
Should your travels bring you to the Sunshine State this summer, rest assured the Venice-Ocala Heart Institute is prepared to take care of all your cardiothoracic and vascular needs year-round.
Tourists both national as well as international have benefitted from the presence of our top 50 cardiovascular program. Patients on vacation from places like England, Germany and Switzerland have needed the assistance of our skilled and renowned surgeons. They are available should any area travelers need them.
The foundation of the institute is simple: to care for families as they would for their own. The physicians have worked in complete cooperation with the Venice Regional Medical Center to build a program that has provided the highest quality of care – recognized as one of the Top 100 cardiac surgery programs in the nation. The goal of the Venice-Ocala Heart Institute is to draw upon the expertise of two specialties – cardiovascular surgery and cardiovascular anesthesia to deliver the best quality of cardiothoracic and vascular care to the heart, lungs and vascular needs of the patient. The Venice-Ocala Heart Institute is comprised of cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgeons and cardiovascular anesthesiologists working together to provide superior care for patients. The Venice-Ocala Heart Institute is located at 706 The Rialto in Venice, Florida.