June 20, 2014 Healthy Living

Summer fun series: Tips for Safe Travel

For many, summertime means summer vacations. Whether you’re planning a short road trip or a longer getaway, keep in mind these few basic travel tips.

Prep your vehicle
If you’re traveling by car, be sure everything is in working order before you hit the road, including your tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 11,000 crashes result each year from tire failure caused by tread separations, blowouts, and bald or under-inflated tires.

Before departing, check your engine, battery, hoses, belts, and fluids. Test your lights and wipers and clean the inside and outside of all windows. If you’re not comfortable checking the vehicle yourself, consider taking it to a qualified mechanic for a quick once-over. Don’t forget to assemble an emergency kit that includes jumper cables, flashlights, and bottled water.

Familiarize yourself with the destination
When travelling to an unfamiliar place, try to research it ahead of time. If someone in your party becomes ill or injured, knowing where the closest 24-hour pharmacy or urgent care clinic or hospital can save time and possibly a life. The My CDPHP Mobile app includes the Find-A-Doc feature, which allows you to search for physicians, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, urgent care, X-ray and radiology facilities, and other services using your smartphone or tablet.

If you’re spending time in the great outdoors, stay aware of potentially harmful insects and other critters, such as ticks and spiders. The Northeast, for example, is prime territory for deer ticks that spread Lyme disease and mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Encephalitis, among other diseases. Make sure you have plenty of bug repellent and keep it handy.

Travel smart
Get in the habit of carrying your medical insurance card, a list of any medications you’re taking, allergies, and other information that could be useful if you were to become ill. Keep these details accessible for each family member and store them in a safe spot. If you are without your wallet or can’t locate your insurance card, you can access it via My CDPHP Mobile.

If you’re traveling with young children, affix an “emergency information” note to the sides of their car seats in case of an accident. Each note should include the child’s name, age, allergies, health conditions, pediatrician’s name and phone number, and the name and number of a close friend or family member in case you’re unable to care for them. Make sure you pack a first-aid kit, kid-friendly food and drinks, and safety equipment like helmets and life vests.

Heading overseas? Be sure that your immunizations are up to date for that part of the world. Ask your doctor about any health concerns before you leave so you can take the necessary precautions. The U.S. State Department provides additional tips for foreign travel.

What to pack
When deciding what to take, consider the climate of your destination and pack accordingly. Is it hot and dry or cool and wet? In addition to clothing and toiletries, ensure all your traveling companions have these essentials: rain gear, a jacket or fleece, proper footwear, a swimsuit, and a hat to shield their face and head from the sun. Don’t forget to toss enough sunscreen and bug spray for everyone into your luggage.

Remember that the key to a great trip is being prepared and keeping everyone safe. Bon voyage!

Suzanne Huwe
About Author

Suzanne is senior editor for the corporate communications department at CDPHP. Prior, she worked as a national campaign coordinator at the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, DC, and as a copy editor and special sections editor at The Tampa Tribune. Suzanne earned a bachelor’s in economics from SUNY Fredonia and a master’s in multimedia journalism from American University. When she’s not fine-tuning others’ writing and her own, Suzanne enjoys running, traveling, scuba diving, and hanging out with her dogs and husband.

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