Health-Conscious Dining, Travel, and Fitness Tips
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Travel and Dining:
Travel Fitness Tips
Travel Precautions
Travel in the USA
Travel in Europe
Elsewhere in World


Save the Children! - a Car Safety Note
Prescription Drugs Abroad
Insurance
Listening Dangerously
Medications on Airline Flights
Visiting Developing Countries
Reducing the Stressful Impact of Airline Travel

Save the Children! - A Car Safety Note

Recent studies have suggested that as many as 50% of parents use their child car seats incorrectly. Check yours carefully and if you have any questions, call the manufacturers customer service departments - or call Safety Belt Safe USA at 800-745-SAFE - or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Auto Safety Hotline at 800-424-9393.

In the meantime, here are a few tips.

  1. Experts say that the best seat belt for securing a child's seat is a manual lap belt. In newer cars, these are usually located in the middle of the backseat.
  2. Seats for children under one must face rearward. With older children, the seat must face forward and be in an upright position.
  3. Infants placed in rear-facing seats should never be placed in the front seat of a car equipped with a passenger-side airbag. The child can be hurt if the bag deploys.
  4. Check the seat, once mounted, for movement. If it moves significantly side to side or back and forth, its not properly secured. Check the seat each and every time it's used.
  5. Tighten the seat belt which is used to secure the seat by pressing the child seat down into the vehicle seat. Use full weight (i.e. on a knee) while doing so and carefully check the security of the seat by trying to pull it with both hands in all directions.
  6. Do not place a child car seat in deeply contoured or bucket seats. They do not allow most child seats to sit properly.

Your children are precious. Give them the safety that they deserve.

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Prescription Drugs Abroad

If you take prescription drugs with you on a trip outside the United States, it is of the utmost importance that you carry with you a list of the generic names of those medications. Trade names vary from country to country. Though many pharmacies abroad attempt to cooperate with the business or leisure traveler, they may be hard pressed, should you run out of pills or lose your medicine, thus needing a refill, to find your medication without its generic name. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to provide such a list. Better safe, than sorry.

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Insurance

If you have health problems and are traveling, give serious consideration to Medevac Insurance as well as Health insurance. MEDICARE, for example, does not cover medical treatment and hospitalization abroad. Be sure to check your coverage on other policies for, if illness strikes, and you require hospitalization, you may be in for potentially huge costs. Don't count on the largesse of your HMO or even your individual carrier. Get the facts!
If you're purchasing medical insurance for your trip, be sure that it provides medical evacuation coverage. Also, inquire about whether it covers preexisting conditions. Don't let your travel agent discourage you about the added cost. And look for insurance that includes trip cancellation. You can purchase a book published by the U.S. titled Health Information for international Travel.

You can also obtain the State Department publication titled, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad. This will give you a list of those companies from whom you can purchase insurance. You can order this by fax, 202-647-3000, or go to www.travel.state.gov/medicine.html.
We wish you peace of mind and healthy travel.

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Listening Dangerously

We recently received a report from one of our health professional correspondents suggesting that too many of us are "listening dangerously" and paying the price with damaged hearing. Music is a source of tremendous pleasure, sensual, healing and inspirational. But just as those of us involved in fitness regimens take care to minimize injury while engaged in activities which we enjoy and which promote well-being, the listener must do the same.
Hearing loss is usually associated with high-frequency phenomenon- the human ear most sensitive and susceptible to injury in the 2-3 kHz zone. If you are exposed to loud sound over a long period, it can cause a gradual loss in hearing. Repeated exposure to high sound-pressure levels, whether at rock concerts, night-clubs, car-stereo listening, in factories, sound studios, and even using headphones frequently at high-volume, all put you at high risk for gradual, but permanent hearing loss. It's a pity, because it can be avoided.
You've seen headsets worn by field workers at airports and those practicing on the shooting range, but for protecting yourself while listening to music, there are special earplugs which appear to do the job well. Consider Cabot's E-A-R Hi-Fi Earplug. These can be purchased at music stores. For those who want the very best in sound and protection at the same time, look into the ER-15 and ER-25 Earplugs from Etymotic Research. The latter are available through audiologists and run close to $150 per pair, but if you're serious about your music and have invested heavily in your system, you'll want the top of the line.

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Medications on Airline Flights

What about caring for your medications on airline flights of long duration? One of our editors brought this question to our attention recently. There are a few steps that you can take. First, inquire with your pharmacist which of the medications you take regularly are temperature-sensitive. Once you've made this determination (i.e., insulin), you can carry your own ice-pack or cooler if that suffices, or ask the airline in advance whether they'll store it for you in their refrigerator units. Remember, too, carry a prescription(with the generic name included), in case you lose your medication or forget it on the plane. It has been known to happen.

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Visiting Developing Countries

We've all heard of Montezuma's Revenge. The idea is to avoid it - and more serious health hazards when visiting developing countries. Here are some do's and don't. For a fuller explanation, request a booklet from The International Health Care Service, 440 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021 (or Tel: 212-746-1601). If you are located in New York, contact them for immunization information and/or the actual inoculations.

Avoid:

  • Tap water by the glass or in mixed drinks.
  • Ice made from tap water. Alcohol will not kill the disease-causing organisms.
  • Brushing teeth with tap water. Even a little bit can make you ill.
  • Raw vegetables and salads (even in the best hotels and finest homes).
  • Fruits that do not have thick, disposable outside covering.
  • Rare or raw meat or fish.
  • Dairy products from small vendors; or food that has been left out in the sun.
  • Mosquitos (wear long sleeves and long pants; use mosquito netting if possible, at night. Tuck in and spray with insecticide inside the netting).
  • Swimming in fresh water in South American, Asia and Africa. Danger of schistosomiasis. Better not to take the chance.

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Reducing the Stressful Impact of Airline Travel

Airline travel, particularly long distance, is very stressful. In order to reduce the side-effects of such stress, our correspondents have compiled a list of useful tips - and a few exercises which you can practice from your seat.

  1. Dress in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
  2. Keep well-hydrated. That means drink lots of water. Alcohol is dehydrating, so keep intake down. But if you want to drink spirits and wine, be sure to compensate with abundant water. Carry a sterile saline nasal spray (you can purchase it in any pharmacy) and use it according to directions during your journey. The mucous membranes of the nose dry out in the atmosphere of an airplane, and you'll feel better and protect your sinuses with appropriate use of saline spray.
  3. Remove shoes and wriggle your toes periodically.
  4. Use a moisturizer for the skin.
  5. If you wear contacts, check with your ophthalmologist whether you should remove them for the duration of the flight and substitute eyeglasses.
  6. Avoid heavy meals before the flight - and, of course, eat lightly on board.
  7. For safety sake, keep your seat belt on even when sleeping. You ever know when your plane will hit some turbulence.

Here are some excercises which can be done in your seat. Breathe out while doing the move.

  1. Roll your shoulders up toward your ears. Ten times.
  2. Rotate each shoulder in turn 10 times.
  3. Starting with your chin dropped to your chest, move your head slowly left 10 times, then right 10 times. Don't strain.
  4. Gently do a full rotation of your head, 5 times right, then 5 times left.
  5. Holding hands in front of you, rotate hands in turn 10 times each.
  6. With elbows tucked in at your sides and arms at 90 degree angle, squeeze back so that you feel it in your shoulder blades- 10 times.
  7. Extend each leg in turn. Point the foot forward. Move up and back, up and back. 10 times, each foot.
  8. Raising each foot in turn, rotate in and out, 5 times.
If you don't mind being looked at strangely by some of your fellow passengers, you can supplement them with some standing stretches while waiting to use the lavatory - or at the rear of your compartment, whether coach, business or first.

Be sure to get up from your seat periodically, when signal permits, and take a stroll up and down the aisle.

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