Make Spring Break Safe and Healthy

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness March 26, 2013
Family of 4 with snorkeling gear on the beachIt’s that time of year again – bags are packed and people all across the country are on their way to a week filled with fun in the sun. Spring break is a good time for rest and relaxation, but vacation is also a time when many of us lose track of healthy practices including nutritious eating or common sense safety rules. Northwestern Medicine® experts suggest following some easy tips to keeping spring break fun and safe. “You can enjoy yourself and a few indulgences while still keeping your health a priority in the midst of spring break travel,” said Kimbra Bell, MD, an internal medicine physician with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group.

Below are Bell’s tips to stay healthy during spring break vacations:
• Protect your skin. If traveling to a sun-filled destination, wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF and most importantly, do not forget to re-apply every two hours. This will protect against the sun’s harmful rays which predispose a person to skin cancer, including melanoma.
• Eat healthy. A healthy diet is important – even while on vacation. Be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in meals and drink lots of water. Nutritious food will keep the body fueled and well-hydrated, providing plenty of energy to engage in activities all day. In addition, the foundation for any day is a healthy breakfast.
• Stay hydrated. Oftentimes spring break can involve various days filled with strenuous activities from rock climbing to various kinds of sports; keeping hydrated is essential with any sort of physical activity. Remember to stay well-hydrated with at least 48 ounces of water per day. A general rule of thumb would be a minimum of three to four 16 ounce standard water bottles per day.
• Pick luggage wisely. If carrying a purse, wear one that can be strapped across the body and has a zipper, not a snap closure or an open closure. A secure zipper can thwart “pick pocket” attempts and decrease the chances of someone grabbing the purse and running away with it.
• Get plenty of sleep. A good night’s rest is the foundation for renewing and refueling the body for the next day. Adults should strive to get six to eight hours of sleep each night; even on vacation where sleep can sometimes seem secondary to having fun.
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