Summer is here and for many of us that means a real vacation may be an option for the first time in a couple of years. We tapped Kate Land, MD, a pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center, to offer tips on summer travel to keep individuals and families healthy and happy.
Wear a mask
Continue masking, preferably with an N-95, on airplanes and in airports even though U.S. federal guidelines and many foreign governments do not require it. Keeping your mask on will protect you and others. When on public transportation definitely keep your mask on and wear it indoors and in crowded outdoor areas. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.
Wash your hands
Hand washing is very important when on an airplane and when traveling to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Also be cognizant of touching surfaces others have touched, and of trying not to touch your face afterward.
Make sure your COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date to lessen the odds of severe illness should you get sick. If travelling internationally, and especially to developing countries, make sure your travel immunizations are up to date. Kaiser Permanente members can reach out to the International Travel Medicine Services and fill out a questionnaire that will tell you if you need to make an appointment with a travel nurse for needed vaccines or other care.
Eat and drink safely
When visiting places outside the U.S. that may not have safe tap water, drink only beverages made with boiled water, such as tea and coffee. Canned or bottled carbonated drinks are usually a safe choice. Don’t use ice if you don’t know what kind of water was used to make it. You may also want to avoid raw vegetables, raw unpeeled fruits, or raw or undercooked meat and seafood that could give you food poisoning.
Bring your health records
If you have health issues and you are a Kaiser Permanente member, you can download your medical record to store on a thumb drive, just in case you need to give medical providers the names of your medications and your health history, and see how to get care while you are away.
Watch out for the sun
Protect yourself and your family with sunscreen. If possible, wear a long sleeve shirt, a hat, and sunglasses.
Enjoy a vacation with kids
If you are travelling with kids, don’t forget to pack your sense of humor! When you travel with little ones, things often don’t go as planned. Your flight may be late, or your car might be stuck in traffic. Try to accept these challenges ahead of time. Use your sense of humor to turn them into fun and memorable experiences.