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Talking with Kids about Safety before Vacation is Vital

Tips for a healthy & safe vacation

Great advice from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health!

Spring Break is right around the corner for many students and naturally some plan on getting away from home.  Spring break can often be the first vacation a teen or young adult takes without their parents.  Whether they’re hitting the beach or the slopes, a conversation with their parent(s) about potential risks can make the difference between a great vacation and a bad experience.

When on vacation with peers, kids can feel pressured to do things they might not ordinarily do, like drink alcohol, buy a Xanax (or other drug) on the street or take prescription medications that their friends happen to have.  For example, law enforcement in Florida report a “super pill” is taking over many streets and so far it has killed nine people in a matter of weeks.  The lethal substance is packaged in pills that look just like Xanax.  The fake Xanax is mixed with a powerful pain medication called Fentanyl.  The combination of Xanax and Fentanyl is so potent that one pill is killing people in minutes.  There are even reports that drugs like marijuana are now being laced with fentanyl to both improve the high and increase the addiction potential – and consumers cannot tell the difference!

“Believe it or not, studies show that kids still respect their parents a great deal,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said, “A brief, factual conversation with your kids to highlight some of the risks associated with alcohol and drug use can make a big difference in their ability to respond to their peer’s urgings.  Help them think through how they will be able to say no and still have a good time with their friends. It’s amazing how just a few minutes thinking through the situation in advance can equip a young person to resist the powerful urge to be just like everyone else.”

Below are other helpful safety tips when preparing for a spring break vacation:

Plan a successful trip:

If you are going on a trip, be prepared and make sure if you are traveling abroad to get any required vaccinations ahead of time.  For those taking medications, be sure you have enough for your time away.

Protect yourself:

With the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the only 100% sure way to prevent STDs and unintended pregnancy is by not having sex.  If you choose to have sex, using condoms and having a monogamous, uninfected partner may lower your risk.

Be sure to take plenty of insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, etc.

Protect yourself from the sun.  After a cold winter, it is tempting to stay in the sun all day.  Although getting some sun has its health benefits, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states excessive and unprotected sun exposure can result in premature aging, changes in skin texture, and skin cancer.  Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15.  Sunglasses with 100 percent UV ray protection are also recommended.

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