During the winter months, certain regions of the US are affected by severe weather conditions, bringing a blizzard of health concerns that travelers should be aware of. The severe weather can take a physical toll on seniors and elderly parents traveling to the US, especially if visiting from warmer climates where snow and ice seldom occur. The unfamiliar climate change can be harmful to their health, which is why it is important to take the preventative and precautionary health measures necessary to stay safe and healthy during a visit to the US. Keep your holiday to the US illness and accident-free by following these ten essential health tips.
1. Pack and Dress Accordingly
Weather in the US varies drastically. Be sure to do your research and find out what the expected weather conditions will be for the region of your destination. For many US regions, wearing only one jacket or sweater will not suffice during the winter months. Plan to dress in layers, and bring outerwear such as down jackets, wool coats, or windbreakers. When walking in snowy conditions, be sure to wear bright clothing so you are visible to approaching cars. And don’t forget essential cold weather accessories – a warm hat, earmuffs, scarf, and mittens will keep body heat from escaping.
2. Stay Dry
Wet clothing chills the body, making you more susceptible to catching frostbite or hypothermia. If it’s raining, sleeting, or snowing, be sure to cover up with waterproof outerwear that prevents snow and ice from dampening your clothing.
3. Step Carefully
In cold weather, it is common for roads and sidewalks to become icy and slippery, creating treacherous hazards for visitors unfamiliar with such conditions. To avoid a serious fall or injury, walk slowly and carefully to acclimate yourself to the icy ground. Wear slip-resistant footwear with rubber treads when walking on snow and ice-covered walkways. Also, look out for black ice, or a transparent thin layer of ice covering the ground – it’s virtually invisible, but very dangerous.
4. Stay Inside During Severe Weather Conditions
In cold regions of the US, extreme weather conditions like snowstorms and blizzards can occur. Heavy snowfall and high wind speeds are common aspects of winter storms and blizzards, which can result in life-threatening conditions among visitors who do not take the necessary precautions. Pay attention to the local news stations and weather forecasts during your visit, and avoid outdoor activities if severe weather conditions are expected.
5. Avoid Catching the Flu
Sicknesses such as the common cold and flu are more prevalent during the winter, and can develop into more serious illnesses among at-risk individuals. To decrease your chances of catching a cold or the flu during your trip, avoid contact with those showing signs of illness, such as sneezing or coughing. Additionally, cold and flu-carrying pathogens cover many surfaces such as desks, door handles, and phones. Keep yourself protected by washing your hands with soap and water often or carrying a hand sanitizer with you at all times.
6. Protect Eyes and Skin
Just because the weather is cold does not mean that you are safe from UV rays. In fact, UV rays can be even stronger during winter, reflecting off of snow and ice. Prevent sun damage by wearing a good pair of sunglasses and a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher – even if it’s snowing.
7. Monitor Your Heart
Cold weather can affect the heart. Increases in blood pressure and cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes are especially common during the colder winter months, and seniors and elderly parents are particularly susceptible. Take preventative measures such as staying warm and avoiding strenuous activity that is hard on your heart.
8. Be Prepared for an Asthmatic Episode
The cold weather is also harder on individuals with asthma. Visitors traveling from warm or humid climates may be especially sensitive to the temperature changes and experience heart or lung problems. For these concerns, it is important to monitor your physical activity, take extra precautions when outside, and always carry your asthma inhaler.
9. Understand Wind Chill
Be sure to take into consideration wind chill. Although a certain temperature may be forecasted, the wind chill – or the temperature the body feels – will always be lower. For this reason, it is essential that you check your area’s wind chill and dress appropriately for that temperature.
10. Stay Hydrated
Your body is just as likely to become dehydrated in the winter as it is in the summer. Although you may not feel thirsty in the cold weather, your body still perspires; therefore, you must drink just as much water as you would in warmer weather. Make sure that you consume plenty of water during your stay in the US. Cold water and hot tea are both great options.
Seniors or elderly travelers should take special precautions during winter while they are visiting USA. Visit Travel Tips for Seniors to learn more. Since the medical cost in America is extremely high and you cannot deny the fact that mishaps can happen anywhere anytime, it is highly recommended to protect yourself with a travel medical insurance plan.