Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 12:04pm
SPRING BREAK: What to Know Before You Go
With highly anticipated spring break just a few weeks away, Lehigh’s team of health professionals wants to share some practical advice for students:
Before you head out:
- Check out the prevalence of health risks at your destination, and line up necessary vaccinations and medications. Note that the Zika virus, which is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitos, presents a significant health issue in many countries around the globe, and that there are several steps you can take to help prevent Zika. More information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/zika
- Don’t go to an indoor tanning salon to prepare for your time in the sun. Indoor tanning is not safe. In addition to prematurely aging your skin, use of indoor tanning booths greatly increases the risk of melanoma. Learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/indoor_tanning.htm
- Make sure you can stay in touch. Contact your cell phone carrier to make sure you’ll have access to your services while you are away and what costs will be associated with long-distance calling, texts, etc.
- Make a copy of your passport to carry and scan a copy of it into your phone. Be sure to also have a copy of your health insurance card or other important information saved to your phone.
While you’re away:
- Check your sun exposure. Remember that the sun’s rays are stronger the closer you get to the Equator, and that sun-deprived winter skin can burn in a much shorter time. Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 strength. Apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply often.
- Respect yourself and others: If you are sexually active, use latex condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. And know what “consent” is and respect it for all forms of intimacy.
- Look out for each other. Don’t fall victim to “vacation mentality” and assume no harm can come to you or your friends simply because you are in different location. Keep track of each other when you go out, and make sure your friends are in a state of mind to make safe, healthy decisions.
- Know where to get help. Take a moment to find out the location of local medical facilities. Know who to call or where to go in the case of a medical emergency.
- Be sure to take care when swimming in the ocean, particularly in areas where there are strong currents and rip tides. Even the strongest swimmers are at risk in such conditions.
- If you drink, do so responsibly. Know your limits. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know. Drink plenty of water and be sure to eat. Don’t drink and drive.