Relax during the holidays, while taking care of your health.

22 de Agosto del 2017

By: Vida y Salud.

Sometimes we think, wrongly, that the holidays involve the suspension of care, and then we come back from them with aches and pains. Taking good care of yourself during the holidays is easy, and its benefits in health and wellness will make you feel good all year.

The holiday season should be an opportunity to intervene positively all aspects of your health: once the holidays begin, you no longer have valid excuses for avoiding good sleep, exercise, or healthy choices in nutrition. However, it is not surprising that, by late July, we return from holidays to our work with new ailments, such as muscle and bone pain, some extra kilos, or just feeling more tired and stressed than before. How can we prevent, alleviate, and solve these problems? By recalling that, as we stated in our monthly special, health has no vacations. That is, by remembering that every moment is an opportunity to take care of yourself, since the holidays, rather than a suspension of responsibility, can become the time to build new goals and implement them. For these holidays, empower yourself, and become the master of your body and your mind with these simple recommendations.

When you plan well, you leave your worries at home.
When you're traveling, do not burden yourself with stress: you have enough burdens with your luggage. Plans responsibly and make lists that you can easily check on your cellphone or in a notebook, with all the documentation required for your trips (tickets, passports, prescriptions, permissions to leave the country for minors, etc.). Capture screenshots of boarding passes, itineraries, transport and relevant maps to orient yourself in unfamiliar cities: remember that internet access may be less reliable than what you need. Also keep pictures of your passport, visas and important documents at hand. In case of loss or theft, they will help you solve your mishaps with greater agility.

Check the vaccination requirements and follow them carefully.
Each destination has specific health requirements and, equally, every traveler can have their own. Check on the internet or with the relevant embassies about vaccination requirements regarding the trip of your dreams. If you're traveling to tropical areas, like much of South America and Africa, for example, it is imperative to be immunized against yellow fever. In addition, if you have not received complete vaccination schemes against Hepatitis A and B during childhood, it is recommended that you do so before leaving: traveling involves consuming foods and beverages that sometimes may be contaminated with these viruses. Vaccines against tetanus-diphtheria and measles-mumps-rubella should also be up-to-date for everyone, but especially for those who are planning to travel.

Vaccines: Paying attention to your specific needs.
Depending on your health, your age, or if you are pregnant, you may require extra care or vaccines. People over 65, those suffering from immunosuppression (HIV, transplants, or other causes), and those affected by chronic respiratory disorders (asthma, emphysema, COPD, etc.) should be vaccinated against seasonal Influenza and pneumococcus, to avoid infections that can turn a pleasant trip in a boring stay in a hospital bed. Children (whether or not they will travel) must have a full immunization schedule according to their age and health status.

Know what to do in case of accident or illness.
When you are local and you travel within Colombia, your health coverage remains in force, but it is necessary to be informed about the lines and locations of emergency care. Check online consultation services close to your destination, and keep them at hand at all times. When you travel to other countries, you must have a valid medical insurance with international coverage (usually ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 dollars), as well as contact numbers and orientation for its services. Acting responsibly at this level will help in many ways: it will prevent the immigration authorities from denying access to other countries because of violations of the conditions of entry; it will give you peace of mind knowing that you are prepared to deal with emergencies; and it will provide additional services such as baggage insurance, repatriation, and visits of relatives in case of death or serious illness.

Keep up the guard.

In our hometown we take good care of ourselves because we know the peculiarities of the environment: germs, insecurity, heavy meals and drinks, traditions, etiquette, etc. But, when leaving our comfort zone, we must redouble our efforts to ensure our safety. Begin by washing your hands often, and by paying attention to the hygiene of restaurants and bars. Be careful when using transportation services: use the seat belt and, if you notice bad behavior from drivers, it is preferable to vacate taxis and buses. Find out on the internet and from hotel staff about which areas of the city you should avoid for safety reasons: some places are safe during the day and dangerous at, and others that are risky at any time.

Watch your belongings.
Always keep your luggage in sight. While traveling, nobody should touch your bags, in order to prevent thefts, and to make sure that no prohibited content (drugs or weapons) is added to them. Your bags must be labeled with your name, address, email address, and contact phone number, so that, if you lose them, it may be easier to recover them. It also must be tightly closed (ideally with a padlock) to prevent security problems. Keep in mind the restrictions of cabin baggage, so that you don’t have to let go of important items (medicines, liquids, nail clippers, etc.) when boarding flights. Distribute items appropriately between your hand luggage and suitcases traveling in charge: medicines, important documents and valuables are safer and more accessible in your hand luggage.

Protection in every circumstance.
Being careful prevents problems in all circumstances. If you travel at a relaxed pace, it can suffice with a timely application of insect repellent and sunscreen to be safe and healthy while traveling. If you are more adventurous and practice extreme sports and adventures, use the required safety equipment for each activity: helmets, hats, harnesses, elbow pads, knee pads, etc.: you can have fun without messing with your health. And, while we do not want get into your private life, remember that if you are planning romantic (or sexual) conquests on your travels, it is important to do so in the safest way possible: Have regularity with your birth control pills, always use condoms, and avoid one-night-stands with strangers. Remember that no strategy (other than abstinence) is 100% effective in preventing all sexually transmitted infections. Some diseases, such as syphilis and mononucleosis, can be transmitted even when giving or receiving a kiss.

Check yourself before and after traveling.
Your first check can be done at home: Weigh yourself, examine your skin and your body (breasts, testicles, and any abnormality or lumps), and analyze your mood. Ideally, you should also visit your doctor before traveling, and request routine tests such as a complete blood count and lipid profile. When you return, repeat the process: Check yourself at home and detect any disorder or discomfort, and visits the doctor once again to repeat examinations. This will help, firstly, to assess the good care you had during the trip (aspire to return home better than when you left it!). On the other hand, this helps your doctor to detect infections, weight disorders, abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides levels, or any other disorder that may have developed at this time.

Children: Priority attention and care.
No precaution is small when it comes to ensuring the safety of infants, children, and youngsters while on trips. Adults should supervise all activities, and children should never stay alone in risky spaces. Take turns with your travel companions to watch them when they bathe in the pool or sea, not only to prevent drownings, but also to apply sunscreen every hour or every time they come out of the water. Do not let them talk to strangers, and teach them to say no to candy, food or drinks offered by people they do not know. When walking around the city or using public transportation take them always by the hand. While admiring the beauty of places, try to have your little ones always in sight. This is a great opportunity to inculcate, from your good example, values ??like responsibility (a good diet and safety practices), while sharing with them the pleasure you experience in your travels.

Enjoy responsibly.
While we value certain suspension of duty while on vacations, the responsibility you have with your own welfare does not stop because you are traveling, or because you take a few days for a relaxing time at home. The holiday season should be an opportunity to undertake new projects and commitments to/for yourself and your well-being. Read a book during the holidays, or cultivate your abilities visiting museums, cultural performances and attractions. Celebrate and enjoy social recreation with moderation: Alcohol, consumed in moderation, is a cause for celebration and joy, but its excesses compromise your health, make you gain weight, and can give you a terrible hangover that can destroy your plans for the next day.

Fantasies should not frustrate your reality.
Although our dreams and aspirations move our desire, prompting us to achieve perfect experiences, the best way to have fun lies in intensifying the pleasurable experience of every situation. You do not always need to travel, or to do it luxuriously, in order to have a good holiday season. When you enjoy everyday things, spending time can be pleasurable, working as an excellent substitute for travel when you have no budget. Another alternative may be to travel to closer destinations, or to do it in a cheaper manner, “backpacker style”. Eco-tourism, gastro-tourism, cultural and oenological trips, among many others, can be excellent strategies to return home feeling more cultivated, and they are generally cheaper than cruises, luxury resorts or five star hotels.

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