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10 tips to make your next vacation a healthy, happy one

By Corrie Goldberg

Already fantasizing about your next vacation getaway?

Perhaps your travel dreams transport you to a relaxing beach in paradise, or skiing down wintry slopes. Or maybe the next trip you have planned is for business, not pleasure. Whatever the reason for your travel may be, there are health risks involved in any vacation you may take.

As director of the Travel Health Clinic at Henry Ford Medical Center-Columbus, Dr. Mark Seltisky encourages travelers to meet with health professionals before any trip they may take, in order to provide the best chance of having a successful and healthy vacation.

Henry Ford Travel Clinic's doors are open to patients traveling all over the world.  Henry Ford's Quick Care Clinic in Detroit also provides travelers with consults about possible health precautions they should take for upcoming trips.

In case you can't make it into a Henry Ford Clinic before your trip, Dr. Seltisky has provided steps to take to ensure your next vacation is a healthy one.

1. Read up on your destination ahead of time 

Visit  www.cdc.gov/travel to look up the country you are traveling to and learn if the country has any current health risks or travel warnings in place.

2. Make sure you're vaccinated.  

The Hepatitis A Vaccination protects against food-borne infection.

3. Pack insect repellent!

4. Say no to tap water!

Not only should you stick to bottled water on vacation, but also avoid fountain drinks and ice cubes. If you need that caffeine fix on vacation, carbonated sodas and hot liquids such as tea and coffee are a safe option as well.

5. Be careful where you eat.

Restaurants by the hotel or international chains are believed to be the safest in regards to health and hygiene. Food stands on the street are riskier, and if you decide to cook on vacation, make sure you boil, cook, or peel your ingredients.

6. The sun may not be your friend.

Whether you are vacationing in the warm or the cold, you should apply at least SPF 15 sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection every 2 to 3 hours.

7. Wash your hands.

A simple health precaution some may forget about on vacation. Washing hands with soap and water before a meal, after using a bathroom, and of course after coughing and sneezing is a great defense to unwanted germs.

8. Keep your shoes on!

Going barefoot on the beach may result in fungal and parasite instructions so be sure to wear a pack a pair (or two!) of beach shoes.

9. Limit your alcohol intake. 

Both controlling your alcohol intake and never drinking and driving are ways to keep your judgment from being impaired and stay alert when in unfamiliar destinations.

10. Avoid placing yourself in dangerous situations.

Always wear a seatbelt. Also, be safe during activities like swimming by following instructions as well as using protective gear during adventurous activities.

Visit www.henryford.com to learn more about planning an upcoming visit to the clinic.

Meanwhile, let your day-dreaming about your next vacation resume!