Merck Manuals Shares Tips for Healthy Summer Travel

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Lifestyle News J E 4
Travel health expert encourages travelers to plan beyond their itinerary

KENILWORTH, N.J., April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With millions of travelers hitting the skies, rails and highways in the coming months, Merck Manuals has released tips for staying healthy while traveling this summer, courtesy of Manuals author and travel health expert Dr. Christopher Sanford.

"When preparing for a trip, most travelers closely consider hotels, restaurants and itineraries, but few plan for health contingencies," said Dr. Sanford, who runs a travel clinic at the University of Washington. "Travelers should consult with their primary care doctor to make sure they're up to date on routine and travel immunizations. There are also some basic rules of thumb that travelers should keep in mind before every trip."

Dr. Sanford's tips include:

Pack a travel kit. Your basic travel kit contains first-aid supplies, pain relievers, decongestants, antacids, antibiotics, hydrocortisone cream and an antibiotic cream. As a general rule, pack any medicine you've used in the past year and keep all medications in the original pharmacy packaging to avoid questions at security. And bring it on board instead of checking it – you don't want your medications to end up on a different continent.

Gather medical documents. Keep a full list of regular medications handy while you're traveling. If you have a chronic condition, bring copies of recent medical records – for example, if you have a heart condition, you would benefit from having a recent EKG if you ended up in the emergency room with chest pain.

Activate and hydrate. If you'll be traveling in a cramped plane, train or car, you may be at risk for blood clots forming from long periods of inactivity. You can bring down this risk by taking frequent breaks to walk and stretch, or even doing simple calf movements and exercises in your seat. If you'll be flying to your destination, don't skip the juice cart – dehydration is exacerbated by dry air and can lead to fatigue, headaches and digestive issues.

Eat and drink right. Evaluate the safety of local food in any country you visit. Traveler's diarrhea is common throughout the developing world. Although it's not possible to eliminate the risk entirely, if you're traveling to a low-income nation, try to avoid road side stands, tap water, salads, raw foods and ice.

Manage stress. Airports and train stations can be high-stress environments, so get there early to avoid a last-minute rush to your gate or platform. If you're traveling with family and expecting prolonged contact with family members you don't see very often, plan regular breaks. Taking time to exercise or just have down time will reduce stress commonly associated with large family gatherings, as will getting eight hours of sleep per night.

Dr. Sanford authored the travel medicine section of the Merck Manuals, and discusses specific tips for traveling abroad in a recently released video on

About The Merck Manuals and MSD Manuals

First published in 1899 as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists, The Merck Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the world's most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manual evolved, it continually expanded the reach and depth of its offerings to reflect the mission of providing the best medical information to a wide cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. In 2015, The Merck Manual and MSD Manual kicked off Global Medical Knowledge 2020, a program to make the best current medical information accessible by up to three billion professionals and patients around the world by 2020. For access to thousands of medical topics with images, videos and a constantly expanding set of resources, visit or and connect with us on social media: 

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About Merck

Today's Merck is a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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SOURCE The Merck Manuals



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