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The New Year is here. Whether your journeys are to foreign lands or to visit family and friends, Special Needs Group offers these tips to help you stay healthy while away from home.

Be Informed
Before traveling, check with the Center for Disease Control for updates on any outbreaks or health warning for the countries on your itinerary. The recent outbreak of Cholera in Haiti is an example. The CDC will also recommend any shots or vaccinations required to protect against diseases such as malaria or Dengue Fever, especially if you are traveling to tropical or sub-tropical regions.

Be Prepared
Carry an updated personal medication and vaccination record with you with a list of all the medications you take. If you unexpectedly fall ill and are taken to a hospital, or must see a healthcare provider while traveling, the list can help medical teams understand your situation and current treatments.

The TSA recently created a new disability / medical condition ID Card that travelers can show discreetly to airport security screeners describing any disability, medical condition or medical device that could affect a screening. Although the cards do not exempt passengers from screening, bringing the card may speed up the screening process and keep health issues private.

Have a plan for adjusting your medication regimen if your travel itinerary conflicts with your usual medication regimen. Your regular pharmacist can help devise a medication schedule that is in synch with your travel schedule.

You may encounter unfamiliar foods when traveling to foreign countries, so ask your pharmacist about foods or beverages that conflict with your medication. Let’s face it, travel often upsets the gastrointestinal tract. So pack some soothing medications for your stomach, such as Pepto-Bismol and antacid. And don’t forget essentials such as cold medications, motion sickness pills, pain killers and lubricating eye drops. You’ll also want to include sunscreen and insect repellant if you are traveling to warm climates.

Stay Supplied
Bring more medication than you expect to use—at least one extra week’s worth— and store your medications in their original labeled containers. Some medications may require extra equipment such as needles or pumps, so remember to bring all the components. Bring extra batteries for hearing aids.

Play it Safe
When flying, keep your medications with you. Don’t pack them in your checked baggage. Your medications will be subject to temperature variations in transit and may also be lost or damaged. Replacing medications is not always easy away from home. Keeping your medications with you ensures you will always have access.

When placing your medication in your carry-on luggage, pack them in a separate pouch to facilitate TSA inspections at airports. This also makes it easier for you to access as needed. To satisfy the TSA, see that containers holding medications are not too densely filled, and that each medication is clearly identified. As a safeguard, bring your prescriptions with you.

You should also make sure each of your carry-on items including all special needs equipment, mobility aids, and devices have an identification tag attached.

Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water while traveling and be cautious about drinking alcohol, especially when flying or visiting cities in higher altitudes. Depending on the destination, it may be safer to drink only bottled water. You can also keep a bottle of rehydrating liquid with electrolytes in your bags, just in case you do become dehydrated.

Practice Good Hygiene
Get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods and wash your hands frequently. Most cruise lines and hotels have hand sanitizers available throughout their venues; still, we suggest keeping a personal bottle of hand sanitizer with you.

Carry Insurance
Travel insurance will cover the costs of a medical emergency and even provide medical evacuation back to the U.S. if needed. It’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance whenever you travel out of the country.

Happy travels, and if you do need to rent a wheelchair, scooter, portable oxygen or other special needs equipment while traveling, contact Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea. We deliver directly to cruise ship staterooms, hotel rooms, spas, resorts and other venues around the world. For more details, visit or call toll-free 1-800-513-4515 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


January 11, 2011

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