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DON'T TAKE A VACATION FROM GOOD HEALTH

Time off should be relaxing. Map out what you'll need to do before and during your trip to ensure your well-being.

Ah, it's the ol' I'm-going-on-vacation-I-can-be-a-slug time of year, eh? Well, wise up: Your vacation isn't all fun and games.

There are things you need to do before and during your trip. You'll thank us for this. Actually, you'll thank Dr. Kathy Alvarez at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, Texas. She provided the following information.

- Hey, Doc! Tell your doctor where you're going, especially if you're leaving the country. You may need certain immunizations, or the doctor may have recommendations, dietary or otherwise.

- Make, carry this list. Make a list of the medications you're taking, allergies you have, your doctor's name and phone number, and health insurance information - and keep it with you. Also, pack a couple of extra days' worth of your meds, just in case your plans change.

- De-germ thyself. Money's got germs. So do doorknobs, airplanes, taxis . . . Wash your hands a lot to lessen the chances of getting sick.

- Be careful with food. If you're overseas, understand that the locals are used to ingesting different microbes, which will not make them sick but can ruin your trip. Do not eat anything that's been cooked in water unless the water has been boiled. Use bottled water to brush your teeth, and keep your mouth closed while showering. Decide whether the food that smells so good at the curbside stand has been cooked thoroughly.

- Vacation calories still count. Limit splurges to one meal a day, or share desserts and high-fat or high-calorie dishes. If you can't resist a buffet, fill a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.

- Move it. Plan activities that involve walking to destinations, or if you take a taxi or public transportation, get out a few blocks away. Stroll the streets. It's a great way to enjoy a village or a city as the locals do.

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