With the Summer season in full swing, many of us are making travel plans to get away for a while, either for leisure or to spend time visiting with family and friends. This is a good thing, getaways are important for our physical and our mental health. And traveling offers the change to create lasting memories and create meaningful connections with the people around us. But if you, or one of your loved ones traveling with you, has a current heart condition or a history of heart problems, you may find yourself wondering just what is safe when it comes to journeys by planes, trains, and automobiles. It’s important to be well prepared and informed to ensure a safe journey for everyone involved. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you create your plans for summer travel.
Before you embark upon any trip, consult your healthcare provider. They can assess your current health status and provide personalized recommendations for your situation. They can suggest and offer precautions, adjust your medications or dosages if necessary, as well as offer general advice to ensure your well-being during travel.
Additionally, make sure to research your destination ahead of time, to familiarize yourself with the nearby medical facilities and available care, as well as give yourself plenty of time to adjust travel plans and find alternate locations in the event the intended location turns out to be unsafe or unworkable. Identify healthcare providers and hospitals in the area, and keep their contact information readily accessible in the event of an emergency. Ask your doctor about the location you’re planning on traveling to, and perhaps they can offer you contacts in the area.
Make sure to bring an adequate supply of medications, so that you have enough dosages to cover the entire length of your trip. Pack them along with you in your carry-on bag, instead of your checked baggage, to avoid the risk of losing them should your luggage become lost. It’s also a great idea to carry with you a written or printed list of your medications, including the names, dosages, and frequencies, in case you find yourself needing medical assistance while you are away.
Be diligent with your medication schedule, making sure to adjust for any potential time zone changes. If you take your medications at timed intervals, don’t forget to adjust the time you take it by however many hours time is different from your home time zone. Set reminders on your phone, alarms, or pill organizers to stay on track. If you have any concerns or side effects, be sure to contact a healthcare professional.
Maintain proper hydration through your journey by drinking plenty of water. Limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol as they can contribute to dehydration. Seek out heart healthy food options as well, such as low sodium options, and avoid fatty or processed foods.
Be mindful of extended periods of sitting while traveling for long periods. Sitting for a long time can increase the risk of blood clots. Make sure to take regular breaks to move and stretch.