Remember to pack …

… any prescribed medication you are taking, and make sure that these are in your hand luggage.

In the air …

… cabin air pressure during your flight should not cause trouble in the majority of the cases but sometimes, gases trapped in sinuses can lead to headache or face pain. Gases in the stomach may cause a feeling of “abdominal fullness”. If swelling occurs in the legs after the flight, you should ask for medical advice, particularly if symptoms are prior to the return flight.

Jet lag-what is it? How to reduce it.

Jet lag is a condition suffered by people who travel long distances in planes and it is caused by a disruption of your “body clock” (an inner system that controls the timing of biological functions including when you eat and sleep) when you cross time zones, going east or going west. The body clock cannot adjust immediately to the new time zone and this will affect sleep patterns (the person will wake during the night and then want to fall asleep during the day).

Medical treatment varies depending whether you travel east or west. When going east hypnotic pills (lormetacepam or zolpidem) are effective; they have to be prescribed by a doctor. When going west, try to keep awake (light exposure and keeping your mind and body busy helps) until the night comes. If you are sleepy, a short siesta or taking a hypnotic pill at night can help. Melatonin is a widespread treatment for jet-lag (in the USA medical prescription for it is not required). Taken in the late afternoon, before and after the journey, it helps to prevent the symptoms

How to prevent travel sickness

The motion sickness and nausea felt when travelling is caused by the disorder in the information sent by the different organs that keep us balanced (sight, our inner ear and the muscles in our neck).

These symptoms can be alleviated by taking anti-sickness medicines that prevent the movement of liquid inside the labyrinth of the ear. These should be taken before travelling:

– Adults, 2 hours before: 30 milligrams of cinnarizine (every 8 hours), 50-100 milligrams of dimenhydrinate (every 6-8 hours) or 6’5 milligrams of thiethylperazine (every 12 hours if necessary)

– Children, dosage should be reduced and thiethylperazine is not advisable.

All these medicines cause sleepiness so drivers should avoid taking them and alcohol must not be taken. If nauseas are very frequent1 milligram of clebopride can be added to the treatment (smaller dosage in children). All these medicines can be bought directly in a chemist, although a doctor’s prescription is recommended.

In resort …

Do not overdo the sunbathing when you first arrive and apply sufficient suntan lotion.

Watch what you eat and drink, traveler’s diarrhoea is very common in hot countries, but you can avoid it by taking simple precautions such as drinking plenty of water (only bottled water). Oily foods, cooked fats and too much coffee or alcohol are not advisable.

Diarrhoea in children is especially dangerous. Administer oral rehydration salts for 4-5 hours to restore water and mineral losses. Reintroduce normal feeding on a gradual basis, beginning with a mild diet (boiled rice and boiled or grilled food in general). Don’t swim after a heavy meal or after you’ve been drinking.

Take special care when swimming in the sea as not all beaches offer lifeguards. Check depths before diving into swimming pools.

Avoid insect bites through the use of insect repellents or plug-in anti-mosquito machines that can be bought from most supermarkets.

Before flying back home …

… if you have received medical treatment during your holidays do not forget to ask for a fit to fly certificate (especially for traumas, hospitalization cases, infectious diseases such as chicken pox or measles…).