Spring Break is upon us. Students everywhere are giddy with excitement. Parents everywhere are convincing themselves that what they don’t know can’t hurt them.

We all know that your week in Cancun, or heaven forbid,  Vang Vieng in Laos, will not be the healthiest week of your life. And that’s fine. It’s what Spring Break is all about. But there’s a line between raucous fun and really endangering your health.

So here are 10 tips for maintaining a semblance of health during an otherwise no-holds-barred Spring Break:

  1. Drink water. Preferably bottled water. Lack of sleep combined with too much alcohol and too much sun is guaranteed to leave you dehydrated. Yes, those margaritas are liquid, but they don’t count. You should be shooting for eight glasses – that’s 64 ounces – of water each day. And no matter how hot it may be, avoid ice unless it was made from treated or chlorinated water.
  2. Get some sleep. I know that’s an absurd notion, but please, catch a few Z’s. You can’t chug energy drinks and God-knows-what-else for a full week. It’ll end poorly.
  3. Use sunblock. Sure, you want to come back from Break with that deep, dark tan, but you need to take care of your skin. A bad burn is a recipe for skin cancer. If you’re determined to return to school and make your friends jealous about your tan, cheat a little – use a self-tanning spray or lotion before you leave for Break. And when you’re there, apply a sunblock with an SPF of 30 or greater.
  4. Wear sunglasses. As a corollary to No. 3, the sun doesn’t just harm your skin. T can be harmful to your eyes as well. Be sure to wear sunglasses that are at least 100 percent UVA and UVB protected. And try not to leave them behind when you leave a bar at 3 a.m.
  5. Practice safe sex. If you’re going to have sex, or think you’re going to have sex, don’t be an idiot.
  6. Eat (somewhat) healthy. No one’s expecting you to count calories on Spring Break, but it wouldn’t hurt to sneak in a salad. Here are some ideas – Northeastern University suggested a Spring Break menu for its students.
  7. Vitamins! Even if you pay partial attention to No. 6, let’s be honest – you’re probably going to mistreat your body for the next seven days. Take some vitamins to keep your immune system from falling to pieces by Thursday.
  8. Don’t wander off. You’re out with friends, you’ve all had too much to drink, you get bored and you wander away.  Suddenly, your friends have left, you’re on your own and you’re not sure where you are or how to get back to the hotel. This is when bad things happen. Practice the buddy system.
  9. Stay aware of the world. Things change in the blink of an eye these days – violence erupts, natural disasters occur and storms change direction. It’s unlikely that you’ll be caught in the middle of some catastrophe, but in a hyperconnected world it takes virtually no effort to have an awareness of major events that aren’t happening on the beach. Whether you watch CNN for 15 minutes in the morning or follow news organizations on Twitter, you should stay vaguely aware of the rest of the planet.
  10. Plan ahead, ever so slightly. I’m not asking you to have contingencies for hundreds of different scenarios. But you should take a few minutes before taking off for Spring Break to figure out if there’s a hospital nearby, whether there are any travel health alerts, etc. And, of course, we recommend that you subscribe to mPassport before leaving.

Have fun! Be safe.

Photo by gerrylc2012.

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About The Author

John Miller is president of ScribeWise. He is an avid traveler and web-surfing junkie. Visit www.scribewise.com.

1 Comment

  1. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Energy from the sun actually is a form of radiation. It consists of visible light and other rays that people can’t see. Invisible infrared radiation, for instance, makes sunlight feel hot. UV also is invisible, and causes sunburn and sun tan. UV rays damage DNA, the genetic material that makes up genes. Genes control the growth and overall health of skin cells. If the genetic damage is severe, a normal skin cell may begin to grow in the uncontrolled, disorderly way of cancer cells. UV also can cause sunburn, and other damage that makes the skin look prematurely old and wrinkled..

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