SUNDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- High school and college students around the country are gearing up for spring break, but getting hurt or sick on vacation can ruin the fun.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) offers steps that students can take to prevent injuries and stay safe while traveling with their friends or family.
"Of course, if there's a medical emergency, a person should go to the nearest ER so we can treat them," said Dr. David Seaberg, ACEP president, in a news release. "But so many of the illnesses and injuries we see each year during spring break can easily be prevented with a little knowledge, preparation and common sense."
Before a spring break vacation, ACEP advised that every student should:
- Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), and reapply throughout the day. And wear a hat and sunglasses outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water, particularly if you're in the sun or sweating a lot.
- Wear a life vest on boats.
- Stick close to friends and other people you trust, especially when swimming.
- Become familiar with your surroundings, including local emergency rooms.
- Get enough sleep to keep a clear head.
- Use condoms if you plan to be sexually active.
- Resist peer pressure to join in activities you know are questionable or dangerous.
- Pack your medications and proof of insurance.
ACEP also warned that during spring break, a student should NOT:
- Take illegal drugs.
- Drink before swimming or drive a car or boat under the influence of alcohol.
- Drink alcohol if you're underage.
- Put yourself at risk for alcohol poisoning by binge drinking.
- Ignore your body's warning signs if you feel you are getting sick.
- Go to an isolated place with someone you do not know or trust.
"Spring break is a time to celebrate after the hard work you've done in the year," Seaberg said. "We want you to remember the fun memories from your vacation, not ones where you found yourself being treated in an emergency department because of something you could have prevented."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more tips on spring break health and safety.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: American College of Emergency Physicians, news release, March 6, 2012
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