Spring break is here! For many people this means an escape from the daily grind. For high school and college students, it can be a rite of passage or an annual tradition. This can be a great time. It is all about family, friends and vacations. During this time though it is important to remember that everyone is still in charge of health, safety, and well-being, even when no-one is in charge away from school or the office. Getting ready for spring break is more than just picking a destination.

While choosing among exotic getaways, ski vacations, or just a short ride down the highway, some of these steps can help to ensure a healthy and safe spring break trip.

Before going abroad, even if it is just over the border, find out about vaccines and any health concerns at the destination. Check with local health departments or a travel medicine specialist. Vaccinations should be considered six to eight weeks before leaving the country.

In many parts of the United States it is still flu season. Vaccines are the most important tool we have for preventing the flu. Talk with a doctor about getting a flu shot before jetting off.

Consider obtaining traveler’s health insurance if traveling outside of the country. A standard medical insurance carrier might not cover expenses when over seas. Coverage for emergency medical evacuation can also be useful, particularly if planning to attempt to do any extreme sports.

Whether sports on the list of activities include high risk, or just basic everyday activities always be prepared and depend on reliable outfitters. When making reservations, ask questions to make sure proper training and guides will be offered and what equipment will be used and if it is well-maintained. Don’t take chances that might cause injuries.

Temptation to indulge in the local cuisine is always present when traveling. Food can be the best or the worst part of of a trip. It may be wise to eat only food that has been fully cooked and served hot. Avoid eating fresh vegetables and fruits, unless these can be peeled. Drink only bottled, sealed beverages, and steer clear of ice made with tap water.

Some other great reminders as traveler’s spend time outdoors or in new places are; wear sunscreen. Avoid overexposure to the sun by wearing protective clothing and limit time in the sun during the hottest part of the day, 10 am–4 pm. Swim in safe places. Before jumping in, ask about bacterial contamination, water depth, and other hazards, such as sharp rocks or coral, riptides, and dangerous sea animals. Pack smart and remember that prevention can be travel-sized. Carry a stash of first-aid supplies and regular prescription medications that are properly labeled. Insect repellent and anti-diarrheal medicine can be very helpful as well.

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