Health Matters | Plan Ahead for a Safe Road Trip

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Plan Ahead for a Safe Road Trip

Summer is almost here. Before you pack for a road trip, it is important to be sure your family and home are safe and secure. While this season is one for fun and relaxation, it is also one of the riskiest travel times of the year, and preparing for a road trip can be one of the most stressful parts of your vacation. Nearly 75% of all Americans who take summer vacations plan to drive.

Here are a few ways to prepare for a road trip that will enhance your overall summer travel experience:

PACK YOUR MEDICINE
If you or any family members take medications, be sure a supply is packed for the duration of your get-away. However, do not leave your medicine in a hot car. Heat can affect some medications. Also make note of your physician’s name and phone number, and bring your health and dental insurance cards along—just in case!

BE A PREPARED PARENT
If you are headed to the beach or another sunny destination, be sure to pack sun protection. Bring plenty of sunscreen, floppy hats and UV-resistant clothing. And, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.

STOP ALL DELIVERIES; SET THE LIGHT TIMERS
Be sure to suspend delivery of your mail and home-delivered newspapers, and ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative to drive by your residence a few times while you are away. They will be able to ensure there are no packages on your doorstep that would signal you are away. It is also wise to put a few lights inside your residence on timers so they will give the appearance that someone is home.

DON’T OVERLOAD
When packing, the car can fill up quickly. Try not to take more than you need. It is also advisable to ensure the car’s load is evenly balanced.

KNOW THE ROUTE
Be sure to familiarize yourself with your travel route. Relying solely on a GPS can lead to dangerous last minute turns and lane changes.

TAKE A BREAK
When traveling long distances, it is important to take frequent breaks to help maintain focus and prevent fatigue. Getting out of the car to move around can also help avoid blood clots in legs and minimize lower back pain.

SECURE YOUR PETS
If you are traveling with pets, be sure they are secured appropriately and never let them loose in the vehicle. They, too, need breaks outside the car to run around, eat, rehydrate, and answer the call of nature. Treat them just like you would treat a human member of the family. Never leave them unattended in a hot vehicle.

With a little planning, your summer vacation can be a happy, healthy getaway for you and your family!



  • Plan Ahead with Meal Prep
    Everyone is busy in the back-to-school bustle, and sometimes there isn’t time to cook a proper dinner. Before you opt for a frozen meal, try preparing meals for the week on the weekend!

    We’re all guilty of throwing away the bag of soggy salad mix forgotten in the back of the refrigerator, but preparing your meat and produce early can save time, money, and your favorite foods!

    Here are some tips for preparing a week of healthy meals and snacks:

    1. Cook a large portion of meat and put it in a covered container in the refrigerator. You can use chicken, lean beef, or turkey, and all you need to do is reheat and add to your favorite sides, stir fries or pastas.
    2. Cook a large box of pasta or quinoa and put it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Just add sauce for a quick meal!
    3. Hard-boil eggs for a grab-and-go breakfast or salad topping.
    4. Give all your produce a thorough wash and start chopping. Grill a portion of the vegetables for meals, and then put the raw pieces into plastic containers for snacks.
    5. Make Mason jar salads. Put your dressing on the bottom, firmer vegetables in the middle (think cucumbers and carrots), then lettuce on top. As long as the lettuce and dressing do not touch, the salad will stay fresh for days!
    6. Cook a double portion of your favorite soup and freeze half to stash in your freezer for up to six months!
    7. Crock pot meals cook while you are away and are an easy way to save time while making a delicious, fresh meal. Prepare the ingredients needed to make your favorite dish and set them aside in a container. Then, just put the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and head on with your day. By the time you get home, you’ll have a hot, home-cooked meal waiting for you!
    Having a supply of prepared, healthy meal options makes it easier to reach for salad rather than the take out menu. Take a couple hours out of your weekend to make your favorite meals your you and the family and stay on the healthy track for the rest of the week!
  • Tips to Keep Kids Safe During the Holidays
    The festive holiday season is a time of joy and excitement for children, but it can also pose dangers for little ones. Potential hazards—such as kitchen appliances, candles, and festive decorations —may cause injury to curious children. You can ensure that a child’s holiday season remains merry and bright with some education and proactive measures. Likewise, you can make your home a safe place for the children of your visiting friends and family.

    Be on the lookout for and educate children about these potential dangers:

    Fire
    Fires are common occurrences year round that can lead to devastating damage, but fires are especially common during the holidays.
    • Fireplace – Set up a sturdy screen in front of the fireplace when in use, even with glass-enclosed fireplaces since the glass can become hot enough to catch nearby flammable items on fire or burn the skin.
    • Candles – Watch out for unattended candles near children, and keep lit candles away from curtains or other flammable materials. Also monitor the candle’s burning progress as candleholders or low-sitting decorations may catch fire as the candle burns low. Consider using electric or battery-operated candles instead.
    • Lights strands – Always check your light strands—even new ones—for broken bulbs and frayed wires before use, and be careful to not overload power strips or extension cords.

    Cars
    The holidays can be a hectic time filled with trips to the store for presents and ingredients for your staple dish. Traffic increases in many areas during this time of year which may lead to more accidents.
    • Parking lots – Crowded parking lots are especially dangerous during the busy holiday season. Teach your child to watch for vehicles before crossing a road or parking lot as well as vehicles preparing to back out of or pull through parking spots.
    • Familiarize yourself with your route – If you are trekking to a new part of town to patron a specific store, it is wise to know your way around ahead of time. Relying on GPS may lead to potentially dangerous last-minute turns and lane changes.
    • Intoxication – Be aware of other drivers, since Christmas and New Years’ Eve are times of higher alcohol consumption. Similarly, don’t drink and drive; your child’s life is in your hands. Also, teach your children the importance of not riding with an intoxicated person.

    Poisoning
    Poisoning is a year-round concern, but the holidays present an increased risk of poisoning for little ones:
    • Plants – Keep poisonous plants like mistletoe, Jerusalem cherry, holly, and poinsettias out of children’s reach.
    • Food – Make sure raw meats are cooked thoroughly and that foods that need refrigeration are left out at room temperature for no longer than two hours. It is also important to familiarize yourself with safe food storage procedures to prevent any illness you may get eating that delicious leftover ham sandwich. For a reminder, you may visit our blog post here.
    • Alcohol – Children may pick up unattended drink containers and consume the leftover alcohol, which can lead to alcohol poisoning due to their small size. Always store alcohol out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
    • Keep Medications Up and Out of Site - Young children visiting your home may be curious about bottles of medication. Ensure safety by making sure all medication is stored in a secured cabinet and out of sight and reach of little hands.
    • Unlocked cabinets – If your home is not child-proofed, secure unlocked cabinets that may contain cleaning products or laundry supplies if your holiday visitors includes children. If you are visiting another home with your little one, remind curious children to not explore the house.
    • Prevention is key, but in case of emergency, call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.

    Choking
    As a general rule: if an object can fit in a child’s mouth, it’s too small for him or her to play with. Some common choking hazards include:
    • Small parts – Button batteries, Legos, and gift tags are just a few of the items that can easily fit in a toddler’s mouth.
    • Plant pieces – Tree needles can cut a child’s mouth and hurt his or her throat if swallowed.
    • Foods – Holiday treats such as popcorn and peanuts can be a choking hazard to small children. Keep these out of reach and offer children safe treats instead.


    Burns
    Burns can happen in a matter of seconds and range from an uncomfortable blister to serious damage to tissue.
    • Kitchen – Hot plates, stove tops, and pans can cause burns, so make sure to keep hot items out of a child’s reach, use the back burner when possible, and turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. Actively watch your child while they are in the kitchen; it is very easy for a child to reach for a yummy cookie off a hot sheet while your back is turned. For optimal safety, keep children out of the kitchen.

    Other accidents
  • Shopping safety – Teach your kids to be cautious with strangers and agree on a location to meet up if they get separated from you during shopping.
  • Tree safety – Anchor artificial Christmas trees to the wall or use a sturdy tree stand for real trees so they can’t be knocked over. Keep small, breakable ornaments away from the bottom branches to prevent children from playing with them or putting them in their mouths.
  • Safe decorating – The holiday season often means lugging out boxes of decorations and turning your house into a winter wonderland. While garland on the railing and nutcrackers on the steps may make your house look out-of-a-magazine, both pose potential fall hazards. While decorating, prioritize safety over aesthetics to prevent potential injuries.
  • Cuts – Many holiday decorations are fragile and may break if dropped; make sure glass decorations and delicate kitchenware are out of your child’s reach. Knives and other sharp utensils should be put away in a safe location.

  • Many of these potential accidents may require medical attention, which can be tricky during the holidays when many healthcare providers are open limited hours. Luckily, Patient First centers are open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day – including holidays. For those who are traveling, Patient First operates centers in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. To find a center near you, please visit our location page.


  • Safe Summer Travel Tips
    Summer is here. Before you pack for a road trip, it is important to be sure your family and home are safe and secure. While this season is one for fun and relaxation, it is also one of the riskiest travel times of the year, and preparing for a road trip can be one of the most stressful parts of your vacation. Nearly 75% of all Americans who take summer vacations plan to drive.

    Here are a few ways to prepare for a road trip that will enhance your overall summer travel experience:

    PACK YOUR MEDICINE
    If you or any family members take medications, be sure a supply is packed for the duration of your get-away. However, do not leave your medicine in a hot car. Heat can affect some medications. Also make note of your physician’s name and phone number, and bring your health and dental insurance cards along—just in case!

    BE A PREPARED PARENT
    If you are headed to the beach or another sunny destination, be sure to pack sun protection. Bring plenty of sunscreen, floppy hats and UV-resistant clothing. And, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.

    STOP ALL DELIVERIES; SET THE LIGHT TIMERS
    Be sure to suspend delivery of your mail and home-delivered newspapers, and ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative to drive by your residence a few times while you are away. They will be able to ensure there are no packages on your doorstep that would signal you are away. It is also wise to put a few lights inside your residence on timers so they will give the appearance that someone is home.

    DON’T OVERLOAD
    When packing, the car can fill up quickly. Try not to take more than you need. It is also advisable to ensure the car’s load is evenly balanced.

    KNOW THE ROUTE
    Be sure to familiarize yourself with your travel route. Relying solely on a GPS can lead to dangerous last minute turns and lane changes.

    TAKE A BREAK
    When traveling long distances, it is important to take frequent breaks to help maintain focus and prevent fatigue. Getting out of the car to move around can also help avoid blood clots in legs and minimize lower back pain.

    SECURE YOUR PETS
    If you are traveling with pets, be sure they are secured appropriately and never let them loose in the vehicle. They, too, need breaks outside the car to run around, eat, rehydrate, and answer the call of nature. Treat them just like you would treat a human member of the family. Never leave them unattended in a hot vehicle.

    With a little planning, your summer vacation can be a happy, healthy getaway for you and your family.


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