Santa Clara University

Wellness Center

Spring Break Travel Tips

  • Tips Before You Leave
  • Traveling To Mexico?
  • Sun Protection
  • Alcohol Party Tips
  • First Aid Hints

Before You Leave: How To Prepare

  • Set light timers
  • Lock windows & doors (don't leave a spare key hidden outside your room)
  • Turn the answering machine on, telephone ringer off (don't leave a message saying that
    you are gone)
  • Let someone at home or a trusted neighbor know where you are staying and how to
    reach you
  • If leaving your car, make sure you park it in a safe, legal spot.
  • If taking your car, check your car's belts, oil, hose, & tires.
  • Make sure you have enough gas & money to arrive at your destination & return home. 


Traveling To Mexico??

·         Research your destination carefully!!

·         Make sure someone at home has all the info of where you will be staying and the phone numbers where you can be reached.

·         Keep the name, address and phone number of the hotel where you are staying with you at all times (esp. when out at night).  Check with your cell phone companies to see if they have service in the areas you will be traveling.

·         Make sure you have official, up-to-date copies of your driver’s license, passport and/or birth certificate.  Make photocopies of all important documents (including airplane tickets) and leave them securely in your luggage or hotel safe.

·         If driving into Mexico, always bring proof of car ownership, driver’s license, and registration.  Check with your car insurance company to make sure they cover you in Mexico.  Short term Mexican car insurance is available.

·         It is best to use traveler’s checks rather than carrying large quantities of cash.  U.S. citizens should be very cautious in using ATMs in  Mexico. If an ATM must be used, access it only during the business day at large protected facilities.

·      Penalties for drug possession are SEVERE in Mexico and can include jail time without bail.  All individuals over age 16 are trued as adults in Mexico!!

·      The equivalent of 911 in Mexico is 060

·         Public transportation is a particularly popular place for pickpockets. Leave valuables in a safe place, or leave them at home.

·         Visitors should be careful when crossing streets in Mexico. Public transportation vehicles, specifically taxis and city buses, often do not obey the posted speed limits and do not stop at traffic lights.

·         Warning flags on the beach should be taken seriously. If black flags are up, do not go in the water. There is often a very strong undertow along the beach, and minimal lifeguard supervision in most areas.

·         Avoid Montezuma’s Revenge---Don’t drink the tap water and avoid ice cubes in drinks unless you KNOW the water is purified.

·         Choose bottled drinks, cooked foods and foods that can be peeled.


It is possible to have a safe and fun trip. Avoid risky behavior and become familiar with the basic laws and customs of the country you plan to visit before you travel.


Sun Safety

Buying Sunglasses???
The next time you buy sunglasses, checkout the label before you make your purchase. The FDA has implemented a system to help you decide which type of lens is best to block out harmful UV rays A and B.

  • Cosmetic: provides the least protection and is for those activities conducted in indirect light. Less than 60% of visible light, 70% of UVB rays and only 20% of UVA rays are blocked.
  • General Purpose: adequate for most outdoor activities. 60-92% visible light, 99% UVB and 60% UVA rays are blocked.
  • Special Purpose: especially useful on tropical beaches and ski slopes. 97% of visible light, 99% UVB and 60% UVA rays are blocked.

9 out of 10 women prefer sunblock over wrinkles!
This is spring break not spring bake! Avoid mid-day sun. The sun's UVB rays are most intense between the hours of
10am to 3pm. UVA rays that contribute to premature skin aging are present all day. Surfaces, such as water, sand, cement, or snow can reflect harmful radiation. Don't think you're ok in the shade!

So which sunblock? Depends on your skin type. If you burn easily, a high SPF is necessary (30 or higher). If you tan easily, you still need a sunblock. Oils, tan accelerators, and low SPF sunblocks do not protect your skin. Make sure you re-apply your sunblock, especially if you swim/sweat.

A sun hat, long sleeves and long pants can help protect you somewhat, but not completely.

Also, be careful at higher altitudes and lower altitudes: solar radiation increases 4-5% with every 1,000 feet above sea level.

An Easy Pill to Swallow
Taking medications and heading to the beach or to the ski slopes? Some common medications and the sun don't mix. A phototoxic reaction may occur after just one dose of medication, when the skin is exposed to the sun. The reaction almost always appears as an exaggerated sunburn (rash, redness, swelling). The symptoms may appear anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after sun exposure but could be delayed for days.

If you are taking any of the following medications, watch out!! Birth Control pills, Sulfa drugs, penicillin, tetracyclines, antihistamines, non-steroid anti-inflammatories. There are other medications, so ask your pharmacist or health care provider for advice.

8 Ways to Protect Yourself From the Sun

  1. AVOID MID-DAY SUN. The sun's UVB rays are most intense between the hours of 10am to 3pm. However, the UVA rays that contribute to premature skin aging are present all day.
  2. BE CAREFUL AT HIGHER & LOWER ALTITUDES. Solar radiation increases 4 to 5% with every 1000 feet above sea level.
  3. COVER UP. Although clothing does not completely protect from the sun's rays, a sun hat, long sleeves, and long pants can help.
  4. BE AWARE OF REFLECTED LIGHT. Many surfaces -- sand, cement, water, and snow -- can reflect harmful radiation. Be careful on cloudy days when up to 80% of the sun's radiation reaches the ground.
  6. BE SURE TO USE A SUNBLOCK AND REMEMBER TO REAPPLY IT. Reapply it if you towel dry or if you have been in the water. Remember, a sunblock will only provide protection for the length of time indicated by the sun protection factor number.
  7. EXAMINE YOUR SKIN REGULARLY. Be on the lookout for any new raised growths, itchy patches, non-healing sores, or changes in moles or new colored areas that might signify a form of cancer.
  8. KEEP HYDRATED. Make sure you drink water, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages while on the beach or slopes. Alcohol dehydrates your body, which is the main contributor to hangovers!


Alcohol and Party Tips

Alcohol dehydrates the body; when you add the sun and salt on the skin, you've set your body up for dehydration. Make sure you drink non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages to replace body fluid you're losing.

Signs of dehydration:

  • dizziness (especially if consuming alcohol)
  • an imbalance of potassium and sodium chlorides which leads to arrhythmia
  • weakness
  • muscle spasms
  • passing out
  • confusion
  • Warning signs of pending dehydration is dark urine or infrequent urination.

Alcohol Poisoning Alert

What to Look For:

1.        Person is known to have consumed large quantities of alcohol (or alcohol combined with other drugs).

2.        Person is unconscious, cannot be woken and does not respond to being pinched and/or shaken.

3.        Person has cold, clammy, unusually pale or bluish skin.

4.        Person is breathing slowly or irregularly (less than eight times a minute or ten seconds or more between any two breaths).

5.        Person vomits while passed out and does not wake up during or after.


What to do:

1.        Do NOT leave this person alone.  This is a medical emergency.

2.        Call 911 or emergency for help.

3.        Turn the person on his side to prevent choking from vomiting.

4.        Watch his/her breathing. If breathing stops, administer CPR

PARTY BASICS: (how to drink and have fun without feeling sick and hungover) 

  • Eat before and while you are drinking
  • Set a drink limit before you start drinking and stick to it!
  • Space and pace your drinks.  A good rule is no more than 1 drink per hour!
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid mixing different types of alcohol, (ie. Beer and hard liquor)
  • Avoid drinking games and high risk drinking, (ie. shots, beer bonging, Century Club, Keg stands, etc,)
  • Be Aware of your mood don’t drink to cover up anger, stress, or sadness.
  • Be careful of mixing alcohol with any medications you take. Consult with your doctor to know the risks.
  • Don’t accept open containers from others
  • Bring enough money for a cab.  Don’t drive or get into a car with someone who has been drinking
  • Never leave a party with someone you don’t know (or let a friend do so). Always stick with trusted friends and make promises to watch out for each other.
  • Eating before you go to bed can lessen the intensity of the next day’s hangover
  • NEVER take acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) before you go to bed.  It is metabolized by the liver just like alcohol and combining the two can cause SERIOUS liver damage.  To be safe, wait until the next day when the alcohol has cleared your system before taking ANY medication.


Sex and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination 

  • More than 70,000 students ages 18-24 are victims of sexual assault or date rape in which alcohol was involved.
  • On college campuses, 1 in 4 women are victims of rape or attempted rape. 84% of those women knew their assailant, 57% of those rapes happened on a date.
  • 55% of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape admit to having been drinking or using drugs when the incident occurred.
  • 90% of all campus rapes occur when alcohol has been used by either the assailant or the victim.
  • As many as 70% of college students admit to having engaged in sexual activity primarily as a result of being under the influence of alcohol, or to having sex they wouldn't have had if they had been sober.
  • At least one out of five college students abandon safe sex practices when they're drinking 


First Aid

  • Ankle Injuries: (RICE) Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. Ice should be applied 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Seek help if foot or toes are numb, tingling, or if weight bearing is not possible.
  • Blisters: The fluid under a blister is a good Band-Aid; do not pop unless the blister is on an area where it will rub open on its own. If draining is needed, wash the blister gently with soap and water, then use a sterile needle and put several small holes around the edges of the blister. Leave the skin on top, as it will protect the new skin forming underneath.
  • Diarrhea: Reduce diet to clear liquids and advance slowly to soft, complex carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice), without fatty toppings. If diarrhea persists more than 4 days, avoid dairy products for two weeks. Sometimes excessive amounts of fruits or fruit juices can make it worse.
  • Fainting: Place person on the ground; elevate feet. Observe.
  • Fever: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. Drink at least 8 oz. of water with any medication taken by mouth.
  • Heatstroke: Prevention is the best medicine. Prepare for the heat by increasing fluids prior to heat exposure. Cool the skin with wet cloths, increase intake of fluids, and seek help if sweating decreases and disorientation occurs.
  • Nose Bleeds: Sit upright, lean slightly forward, and pinch the nostrils for 5-10 minutes. Do not clear the nose by blowing or by removing the clots. Seek help if the nose continues to bleed after 10-15 minutes.
  • Poison Ivy: "Leaves of three, let them be." If exposed to poison ivy, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. Calamine lotion may decrease itching and help dry blisters. Remember that the oil from poison ivy can remain on clothes ­ wash them separately from other clothing.
  • Seizures: Call 911; keep the person lying down; protect the head from injury; turn on the side if possible to provide an airway.
  • Splinters: Wash the area with soap and water (do not soak wood splinters because they will break into little pieces.) Attempt to remove with tweezers. If deeply embedded, medical help may be sought.
  • Ticks: Wash with soap and water and use tweezers to slowly tug on the ticks as close to the head as possible. If the head remains you should seek medical help.


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