The next time your fortune teller informs you that you'll soon be going on a long journey, don't pack those bags until you're medically ready to go. Whether your eyes aren't quite up to nighttime driving or your legs don't enjoy sitting still, a clean bill of health can help you enjoy a safer, happier trip. Here are some procedures you may need to add to your pre-travel checklist.
General Physical Exam
If you're planning a particularly exhausting trip, scheduling a general physical examination can prove a wise investment in your safety -- especially if you're older or have known health conditions that require monitoring and treatment. Now is the time to refill any prescription medications that are running low and learn how to store them properly. You may even discover an undiagnosed health problem that needs medical attention before you travel far from home.
Before you hit the road or take to the sky, make sure your eyes are in good working order. Vision disorders can prove fatal if you fail to see a threat while driving. Don't assume that your eyesight is fine just because it seems fine -- vision loss can sneak up on you. For instance, cataracts usually develop over many years, slowly robbing you of your night vision and color perception in the process. If you've been putting off treatment for this issue, schedule cataract surgery in your area before embarking on your road trip. Cataract surgery takes just a few minutes as an outpatient procedure, and it can help you see the world with new clarity in a matter of days.
Dry eye syndrome is another issue that can interfere with your vision while driving. This condition causes redness, irritation and even blurriness of vision -- symptoms you don't want to experience while gazing at a highway for hours at a time. Ask your optometrist for treatment measures to help you maintain correct eye moisture levels and tear film composition during your trip.
Vaccinations should figure prominently into your pre-travel preparations, especially if you're going abroad. Many developing countries struggle with serious infectious diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid and polio that most Americans don't worry about or even see regularly. Make sure you get the necessary vaccinations to protect you against whichever diseases prevail in the country you're visiting. If your destination is overrun with a disease for which there is currently no vaccine (such as the Zika virus), ask your doctor what other protective measures you need to take during your stay.
Circulatory System Treatment
Hopping onto a plane for a long air voyage can be a step in the wrong direction if you suffer from certain circulatory problems. Untreated poor circulation can cause your legs and feet to swell uncomfortably from hours of confined sitting. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of potentially fatal blood clots in the legs, can threaten individuals who sit for long periods in a plane, car or bus. Additional risk factors for DVT include recent orthopedic surgery, use of birth control medications, a history of blood clot disorders and being over 40 years of age.
Getting the appropriate treatment for your particular circulatory issue can help you make your trip more safely and comfortably. If you suffer from DVT, your doctor may prescribe blood thinning medications for your trip. Blood thinners may also be prescribed in the aftermath of surgery, even if you've already spent several weeks recuperating at home. If your circulation is just plain sluggish, your doctor may recommend moving around whenever possible and/or taking circulation-supporting supplements such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
From cataract surgery and vaccinations to circulatory system care, it only makes sense to fine-tune your body while you're making other travel preparations. Have a safe and pleasant journey!