Summer is always popular for travel. Whether driving, flying or on a cruise, the traveler can incorporate some simple tips to avoid the hazards and keep the experience more pleasurable.
Last week, I focused on the tips specific for traveling abroad. This week’s column includes tips and preventive measures with three general topics. The first is on the subject of the risk of the formation of blood clots during long periods of sitting while traveling. Awareness to reduce the risk and knowing the symptoms can save lives. Additionally, I’ve addressed motion sickness and hotel safety.
Reducing the risk of dangerous blood clots: When on a long flight or an extended car trip, the traveler should take preventive measures to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT). According to the American Heart Association, DVT occurs when blood clots develop in the legs, pelvis or other areas of the body when sitting too long, especially when feeling cramped. The risk is that the clot will travel to the lung, trigger an embolism, and cause death.
Last July, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton was interviewed on “The Early Show” on the subject of the DVT risk. She stated, “Sitting for long periods of time, whether in a plane or car decreases the blood flow in the legs, causing clotting . . . it’s common for blood clots to occur with no symptoms. In fact, she said, in about half of all cases, there are no noticeable symptoms.
Ashton listed the following as potential symptoms of DVT: -Swelling in the affected legs; this can include swelling in your ankles and feet. -Pain in your legs; this can include pain in your ankles and feet. This pain often starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or a “charley horse.” -Redness and warmth over the affected area. -Pain or swelling in your arms or neck. This can occur if a blood clot forms in your arms or neck.
Ashton also added that people “who smoke, have cancer, take hormones, are obese, have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and have a family history of clots” are at higher risk of developing DVT.
As for reducing your chances of getting clots on a long trip, Ashton suggests wearing compression knee-highs (available in drugs stores or surgical supply stores), drink water (because dehydration increases risk) and get up every hour to walk around and stretch (gets the blood circulating).
Motion sickness: When taking a cruise or an extended car trip, some of us are more susceptible to motion sickness. There are various over-the-counter products or your doctor can prescribe a medication that may be more effective. For those interested in trying a natural supplement, there are various products available. For example, dried gingerroot has been used effectively for motion sickness. I would suggest you do your own research and/or talk to a knowledgeable person at a health food store where these products are sold.
Hotel safety: The Triple AAA Travel club has the following hotel safety tips on their website:
? Staying safe: Try to reserve a room located between the second and sixth floors. The ground floor can be more accessible to strangers, and higher floors might be out of the reach of ladders if there is a fire. On the way to your room, check for the nearest fire exit. During your stay, lock valuables in your room safe; when you go out, leave the do not disturb sign on the door and the television on, to discourage burglars. If someone from the hotel knocks on your door and you haven’t asked for anything, call the front desk before opening the door.
? Staying healthy: Use antiseptic wipes to clean often-touched surfaces, such as door handles, the telephone, faucets, and the TV remote. When you sleep, keep the top sheet next to your face—hotels clean sheets and pillowcases after each checkout; bedspreads, not so often. Check the mattress seams to be sure there are no little brown spots, which could indicate the presence of bedbugs; these pesky pests can show up even at luxurious hotels.
It’s a fact that older Americans and women are more vulnerable while traveling. Research shows that scammers, thieves and other criminals tend to target these two groups at a higher rate. Being cautious and aware of surroundings is prudent. I hope you find the information I’ve provided useful.
Mary Garza Cummings is a free-lance writer. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure validity of the information. For comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org