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MRC News

Published on March 6, 2002
Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service

JACKSON, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center urges students and families to think first about safety and injury prevention during the spring break holiday.

Dr. Rahul Vohra, Methodist Rehab’s medical director, recommends taking certain precautions when traveling, especially when traveling out of the country.

“People need to be extra cautious about improperly cooked food, contaminated drinking water and they need to make sure to carry prescription medications with them,” said Dr. Vohra. “They should also have plenty of bottled water and high protein snacks.”

Dr. Vohra suggests keeping medications in a carry-on bag in case luggage is lost.

“Keep your medical history with you at all times and have all appropriate vaccinations before leaving the country,” said Dr. Vohra.

Lauren Fairburn, director of Think First, Methodist Rehab’s statewide safety and injury prevention program encourages families traveling with small children to use appropriate car seats and seat belts and to always buckle up.

“Drivers should remember that there will be more high school and college students on the road and in a hurry to get to their destination,” said Fairburn. “Make sure to buckle up and have car seats checked by a certified car seat technician before leaving.”

Fairburn says there are other safety concerns to consider during spring break like preventing sunburns and underage drinking.

“Sunburns age skin and can cause cancer,” she said . “Always wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.”

Alcohol-related traffic deaths are on the rise for the first time in five years, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2000, 16,653 people were killed and more than 600,000 others were injured in crashes involving alcohol.

“Safe and sober driving must be a priority for everyone,” said Fairburn. “ We want spring break celebrations to be fun, exciting and most importantly, safe.”

Dr. Vohra’s tips for a safe spring break include:

  • Never drink alcoholic beverages and drive.
  • If chlorinated tap water is not available, drink bottled water.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 and try to stay out of the sun when its rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids to replace fluid loss.
  • Never talk on a cell phone while driving.
  • If traveling outside the United States, do not eat raw foods, salads and uncooked vegetables.
  • Expect increased traffic on the road and allow more time to reach your destination.
  • When driving, never allow luggage or other items to block the rear window and remember to rest every two to three hours.

“Even though spring break is traditionally a time to get away from school and stress, students should remember that they are responsible for their own lives and to think first before getting into any potentially dangerous situation” said Fairburn.