Keeping healthy during holiday travel - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Keeping healthy during holiday travel

Posted: Updated:
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Department of Health Alleges Unsafe Practices at McMechen Pain Management Clinic

    Department of Health Alleges Unsafe Practices at McMechen Pain Management Clinic

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:20 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:20:59 GMT
    The Ohio Department of Health and the West Virginia Department of Health are encouraging patients of a McMechen pain management clinic to talk with their primary care physician about testing for some infectious diseases following an investigation of the facility by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.
    The Ohio Department of Health and the West Virginia Department of Health are encouraging patients of a McMechen pain management clinic to talk with their primary care physician about testing for some infectious diseases following an investigation of the facility by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.
  • UPDATE: Man shot during fight on Charleston's east end

    UPDATE: Man shot during fight on Charleston's east end

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:40:45 GMT
    A man was shot in the hand during a robbery on Charleston's east end on July 22 at about 10:30 a.m.
    A man was shot in the hand during a robbery on Charleston's east end on July 22 at about 10:30 a.m.
  • UPDATE: Dirty Girl Mud Run scheduled in Charleston, WV now canceled

    UPDATE: Dirty Girl Mud Run scheduled in Charleston, WV now canceled

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:38:13 GMT
    UPDATE: 13 NEWS has learned the Dirty Girl Mud Run has been officially canceled for this weekend in Charleston. 
    UPDATE: 13 NEWS has learned the Dirty Girl Mud Run has been officially canceled for this weekend in Charleston. 

SUNDAY, Dec. 22, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Traveling long distances by plane, car or train over the holidays can pose health risks if you don't take steps to protect yourself, an expert warns.

"One health risk to consider when traveling is simply sitting for too long," Dr. Clayton Cowl, an expert in transportation medicine at Mayo Clinic, said in a clinic news release.

"Concerns like blood clots in the legs from sitting too long, becoming dehydrated from lack of fluid intake or drinking too much alcohol, and not walking much when delayed in an airport or train station can be serious. Driving for hours to reach a destination after a long day at work can be as equally worrisome due to fatigue and eyestrain," Cowl explained.

When traveling by car, plan to stop every few hours to get out and stretch your legs in order to prevent blood clots from forming, he advised. Letting your children out to run and play in a safe setting will also help them burn energy and may make them more relaxed when they get back into the car.

If you're traveling by plane, be sure to stretch your legs. On trips longer than three hours, stand up and move around at least once. If you're in a car or plane, don't cross your legs while sitting for long periods, because this can hinder adequate blood circulation, Cowl said.

To avoid sleepiness while driving, be sure to get a good night's sleep the day before the trip. If possible, take turns driving with others. Take breaks at rest stops where there are healthier food choices, or bring a healthy meal with you. Taking a short walk to get fresh air and stretch can help you stay alert and refreshed. Never drive if you are sleep deprived, he warned.

To avoid getting stiff on long drives, passengers can do some simple stretches, such as extending their legs out and back several times, and massaging thighs and calves. Drivers can do some of the same stretches, but should also stop and walk around, Cowl advised.

Eye fatigue is another potential problem. A short nap can help relieve symptoms such as sore or irritated eyes, dry or watery eyes, double vision or blurriness, and increased sensitivity to light. If eye irritation persists, you might consider non-medicating eyedrops, Cowl noted in the news release.

The air in airplanes is dry, so it's important to drink water to avoid dehydration and symptoms such as headache. Drink little or no alcohol, because it will cause dehydration, Cowl cautioned.

Be sure to have an emergency kit in your car. The kit should include a flashlight or other illuminated warning devices. And for those driving in cold climates, Cowl said, also pack a candle to melt snow for drinking water, a metal coffee can, and extra clothing or blankets.