Now that summer is finally here, many families are taking some well-deserved time off and going on vacation. Regardless if you are traveling to a destination near or far, it is important to observe some precautions to make sure you and your family have a fun and safe time together.
For those traveling outside the country:
Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to get additional vaccinations to protect yourself from certain health risks. It is a good idea to see your primary care provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before traveling and check with them to see what vaccines might be necessary. It is important that you plan well in advance, as your body needs time to build up immunity, or you might need more than one vaccine. Also, many vaccine-preventable diseases that have become rare in the United States (like measles) are still common in other parts of the world, so it is important that you are up to date on all of your regular vaccines as well, such as the MMR vaccine. While away, be careful of what you eat and drink. In many countries, it is advisable to avoid tap water, ice, and any type of raw food to prevent food poisoning.
For those going on a road trip or driving to a destination:
A road trip can be a great experience with family as long as you are properly prepared. It is a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car, as well as supplies such as jumper cables, a flashlight with batteries, and extra food in case of emergency. Make sure to stop and take breaks when necessary, and switch drivers if possible to prevent fatigue and strain. Keep in mind that summer time is also prime time for construction work in many areas, so be sure to obey the speed limit and watch out for signs that indicate work zones. Since summer can bring extreme weather such as heavy rain, tornados, and hurricanes in some parts of the country, it is good idea to stay informed and monitor local weather reports so you can avoid driving in severe weather conditions.
On any vacation:
Make sure to pack smart. Have documents needed for travel such as passport and hotel reservations in an easy to get to location in your luggage. It is also recommended to leave a copy of important documents, especially your itinerary and passports, with a trusted friend or relative at home. Bring any prescription medications you will need over the course of the trip, and if you are flying, make sure to put those in your carry-on bag so you do not risk them getting lost or exposed to unsafe temperatures. Sunscreen is a must in most areas this time of year, so make sure to include that in your luggage as well. Insect repellent may also be useful to pack, especially if you are planning to camp or traveling to an area affected by the Zika virus, and a small first aid kit is always a good idea to include, no matter where you are traveling to.
Stay safe, have fun, and enjoy your time with friends and family!
For information, please visit www.cdc.gov/travel