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Preparing for a Long Flight

ID-100287668Flying can be stressful no matter what, but long flights can be especially uncomfortable. If you are not experienced as a traveler the idea of spending most of a day (or longer) abroad a plane can seem daunting. However there are steps that you can take to prepare for a long flight so you can be comfortable and prepared for any issues that may arise.

When flying it’s common for travelers to look for the best deal. Sometimes, it makes more sense to spend on upgrades. If you have to fly an long distance it might be a good idea to spend a bit more money on the flight and trade the budget for comfort. If the price bothers you, consider the flight costs by the hour. Upgrades like moving from coach to business class can lead to more leg room, better sleeping aids and more entertainment options.

Preflight there are things you can do to get set for your flight. If you’re leaving town from a business meeting, you should change out of your professional clothes into something more comfortable. Layers are important depending on the time of the year. You should also make sure that you charge your electronics so every device has a full battery.

Ask about any changes to your seating arrangements before the flight. If the flight is not full you may be able to switch rows and have an empty seat or two between you and other passengers. That extra room is gold on a long flight. Sometimes, even if you look online first, travel changes are made to a flight and asking for changes nicely to the airline staff could give you your own personal space.

When I have to fly a great distance I sometimes immerse myself into my work to kill some of the time. It’s a fine strategy but not necessarily helpful at all times. You can also use the time to relax. If your TV recordings have started to pile up, many cable providers, or internet streaming hosts have your favorite shows ready to view on demand. You can also download different apps that allow you to catch up on your favorite shows you recorded at home on a laptop or tablet. Whether it’s work or entertainment keeping busy is the best way to make the time fly by.

You should also make sure that you have your favorite items for home for added comfort. A favorite blanket, pillow or other item will give you some comforts of home. Also pick up some items that will help increase your privacy. Sleeping masks and noise canceling ear plugs, for example, will help you sleep on overnight flights. A good pair of headphones will help you listen to music or watch your favorite shows without the background noise. Some people recommend bringing a sleeping pill or other sleeping aid for the flight.

No matter if you’re on a long day trip or overnight flight, these basic tips will ensure that you have the best possible experience. For more travel tips be sure to like Travel Care on Facebook today!


10 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

ID-10093198Whether you spend a lot of time outdoors for work or for play, keeping your body cool can be a challenge in the most humid summer months. As we head into the dog days of summer, here are a few ways that you can stay comfy and enjoy your favorite summertime activities!

1. Eat less more often. Studies have shown that larger meals increase the metabolic heat that your body creates breaking down food. You should also avoid foods that are high in protein as they take more energy to break down.

2. Time your exercises correctly. Try to avoid the peak heat times in the afternoon when you work out. Time your runs/walks and other strenuous outdoor workouts for the early morning or late evenings. If you can only be active during the afternoon, scale down your workouts. Either work out for shorter periods or don’t push yourself too hard.

3. Freeze your water. I love keeping frozen bottles of water ready to take with me on hikes or runs. It doesn’t take much for the ice to melt and it leaves you with a nice cool bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

4. DIY Cooling Packs. Speaking of the freezer, use it to make your own cooling pads. You can freeze a few folded, damp shirts in a bag and take them with you when you go outdoors. They will stay cool for a significant period of time, giving you instant heat relief.

5. Wear loose clothing. Some clothing is designed to keep you cool. Wear loose, lightweight cotton and linen clothing to stay cool. Make sure the clothing is light-colored as well.

6. Eat spicy foods. Ever wonder why spicy foods come from some of the hottest places on the planet? Spicy foods can help you perspire which is the body’s most natural cooling mechanism.

7. Use cooling fans and spray bottles. You can buy a portable fan that will plug into your phone for cheap, instant cooling. You can also bring a spray bottle with you and spritz yourself with water when you start to feel uncomfortable.

8. Eat your fruits and veggies. This is great advice for any time of the year, but especially in the summer. Fruits and veggies can help keep your body hydrated and eating a big salad instead of a hot meal will help keep your body cool. Make a cold pasta salad with lots of veggies for a more filling meal.

9. Keep your head and feet cool. Put some lotion in the freezer or fridge before you head out and use on your feet to keep them cool. If you wear a cap or visor on your head pour some cold water on it before putting it on your head. The head and feet act as access points for your body’s temperature. Keeping those parts of your body cool will help your overall body temperature stay down.

10. Stay hydrated. The most common sense advice for staying cool is to keep drinking water. A lot of people prefer sports drinks to water because of the added electrolytes. That’s fine but try to avoid sports drinks with a lot of sugar.


Air Ambulance Industry Stats

air-ambulanceThe air ambulance industry that we are proud to be a part of has grown rapidly since we started in 1980. As the elderly population increases and life-expectancy continues to lengthen it’s estimated by experts the industry will continue to grow. Also, as more people travel there will be a continued need for air ambulances all over the globe.

Many experts have looked at the air ambulance industry to gauge where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. IBISWorld did some research on the air ambulance industry and estimates the entire industry employs over 219,000 people on either a full or part-time basis all over the world. The industry as a whole accounts for about $16 billion in revenue and has seen annual growth of 1.2% over the last five years. In the United States alone the air ambulance industry is a $4 billion industry with 2.7% growth over the same period.

The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) studies the air ambulance world exclusively and has found that the industry has almost 400,000 planes (either helicopter or fixed wing) in the air today, with more expected as demand continues to rise.

There are several theories about the increase in the air ambulance demand. IBISWorld notes that demand started to increase during the recession. They estimate the need for an air ambulance rose because people waited until critical situations to receive care, due to the loss in health care coverage. The AAMS offers several theories, including a loss of 400 emergency centers and hospitals for 1992 to 2002. The AAMS also notes the reduction of beds in rural hospitals, which has made rural hospitals more basic.

An aging demographic is also the main reason for an increase in air ambulance usage, according to the AAMS. In 2000 there were 605 million people all over the world over the age of 65. The US Department of Health estimates that number will reach nearly 2 billion by 2050. The more elderly people living in more rural areas in the United States and the world means there will be more of a need for air ambulance services.

We also note that more travel will likely increase the need for an air ambulance. As the global community becomes more connected, more younger people are choosing to travel and spend significant time in other parts of the world. As accidents or health related issues pop up, most families are choosing to bring their loved ones back to the States for care.

What does the industry need going forward? Help from governments is the most important need. Continued coverage options for patients via health care from insurance providers will help keep costs affordable enough for people to receive the care they need. For the elderly increases in Medicare coverage for an air ambulance is vital. Right now most people don’t think about air ambulance coverage so better education about the services, costs and insurance options to the public will help educate the general population and increase travel times.

For more information on our air ambulance services and to get more information about the industry please follow us on Twitter today!


Ocean Swimming Safety

ID-100224722Thanks in part to several shark attacks on ocean swimmers in North Carolina, people are concerned about their safety during this busy vacation season. Remember, even with the increased coverage in shark attacks this summer, the odds of a human-shark interaction in the water is slim to none. In fact, you’re almost 100 times more likely to be bittern by another human being than a shark. Still, if you’re on your way to the beach it’s important to know how to stay safe while swimming.

Swim in the right environment. Avoid swimming near piers or fisherman. Bait will attract delicious fish, but it will also bring out more sharks. If you see birds diving in the water, that is usually a good sign of an area to avoid. Also avoid waters that look mirky.

When you swim in the ocean, don’t go in alone. It’s always better to swim in a group when you are in the ocean. Sharks are more likely to seek out a solitary individual rather than attempt to go after a group. The depth you swim at is also important. The group should stay relatively close to shore. The closer you are to the shore, the less likely of an attack. And if you are attacked, if you are closer to shore you are closer to help.

Swimming laps is a great workout. But keep your intensive workout plans for the water confined to swimming pools. When you go in the ocean, treat it as a mellow place to relax. Fast movements in the ocean actually signal you out as prey to a shark. Saving energy can also save your life. If you are attacked you will have conserved energy to fight off the attack. Sharks are more likely to hear you or sense you rather than actually seeing you. That’s also why you shouldn’t swim in the ocean during darkness, which gives the shark a competitive edge.

Your personal health can increase your risk of a shark attack. If you have an open wound you should avoid the ocean if you are bleeding. If you are a woman and menstruating enter the ocean with caution and don’t go too deep. Sharks are most attracted to blood and their sense for it is very strong. In addition to your health, your wardrobe can increase the risk of a shark attack. Avoid wearing anything shiny, like jewelry. Anything that can reflect light will look like the sheen of fish scales to a shark.

If you see a shark don’t panic. Turn around and get out of the water in a calm manner and alert other swimmers to do the same. If you find yourself in the rare position of a shark attack try to stay calm and don’t be passive. Fight back by striking the shark in fast, downward punching motions. You should talk with your family and friends to have a plan. Know where the closest hospital is on any vacation.


Logistics of International Air Ambulance Flight

international-air-ambulanceA lot of people wonder what it takes to pull off an international air ambulance mission. Depending on where the patient is traveling, the logistics can be very difficult. You have to factor in weather conditions in every part of the world, need to have proper communications with different airports, overcome language barriers in the health care industry, and so much more. International air ambulance trips are our specialty, and our years of experience help make the logistics pretty easy to manage.

Take, for example, one of our more recent international air ambulance flights. About a week ago our client needed to be transported from Boston, MA to the Philippines. The flight out of Boston left at about 2:30 in the morning and made its first stop at Saskatoon in Canada. From there the mission went from Anchorage to Nome (both in Alaska) before leaving the United States for the second time en route to Petropavlovsk, Russia. After leaving Russia the flight went to Tokyo and made one last top in Taipei, Taiwan. From Taipei the flight reached it’s final destination of Lapu-Lapu in the Philippines. The total flight time was about 22 hours.

You may wonder why an international air ambulance mission has so many stops. While every trip varies the main reasons for the frequent stops are for fuel and to change the pilot crews. The above mission used three different pilot crews, with changes in Anchorage and in Tokyo. These changes are necessary to ensure the safety of the flight and to keep our pilots in safe working conditions.

As we noted earlier there are several factors that can’t always be controlled when it comes to pulling off a successful international air ambulance mission. Depending on the time of the year, weather can play a major role. When flying overseas and with several stops in between it’s almost impossible to as the weather to cooperate in so many destinations. It takes a great deal of communication between our staff as well as the control centers of the different airports to have the best understanding for what’s in the best safety interests of the flight.

While the pilots get a break, there’s no change in the medical crews on each flight. So during layovers the medical crews may use what little time they have on the ground to take a short rest, change shifts in looking after the patient, or update any of the patients medical needs. Keeping the same medical team in tact during the flight provides comfort and consistency for the patient.

There’s no substitute for experience. Our international air ambulance missions run smoothly because we’ve been through them for over three decades. For more information about our services and to learn more about what makes us special like us on Facebook!


10 Ways to Live Healthy

ID-100217356If you have a sedentary life-style, or you haven’t been eating the best foods there are simple ways you can live a more healthy life. Studies have shown that small life-style changes can have long lasting impacts on improving your health. In many cases you don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your life. Here are some simple things that you can do starting today to improve your health.

1. Think Positive. That’s right, sometimes you don’t have to do anything at all but change your attitude. Studies have shown that thinking happy thoughts can boost your immune system and your body believes what you are thinking.

2. Don’t Ignore Routine Screenings. Going to the doctor and the dentist is very important for your overall health. You can get out in front of any illness or injuries before they become more serious.

3. Make a Lot of Food at Once. Cooking can seem too time consuming for busy professionals. But it is much more healthy and affordable than consistently eating out. Instead of worrying about cooking every day, cook in bulk. Make 2-3 meals per week and freeze the leftovers. You will be less likely to eat out if you have food waiting for your at home.

4. Sleep Better. Try to avoid electronics a few hours before you want to go to sleep. Also, don’t exercise right before bed. A lot of activity before bed will make it harder to fall asleep. You should also have a set bedtime. That routine will help your body fall asleep faster.

5. Move Daily. Even 10 minutes of exercise done every day has a lot of health benefits. Don’t feel like you need to exert yourself on a daily basis. Just find a few minutes every day for some walking, running, push ups, anything to get your body moving.

6. Don’t Supplement Your Diet. There are lots of supplement products that claim to have health benefits, but if you need those, you probably aren’t eating right. Instead, focus on getting your nutrients from food itself.

7. Spend Time Outside. Getting outside will help those positive thoughts to start to flow. Fresh air has also been proven to improve oxygen flow in the body.

8. Make Healthy Friends. The people around you will affect your behavior. If you are surrounded with unhealthy people it will make your healthy life-style that much more difficult to obtain. Joining a gym or a basketball league are just a few examples on how to meet healthy people.

9. Dine Out Smart. Research healthy restaurants. Many restaurants are also posting calorie information on their menus to help diners make informed decisions. Avoid fast food and try to find local restaurants that have healthier options.

10. Start Small and Build. Don’t try to lose 50 pounds in the first week. Set attainable goals for yourself that you know you can maintain, based on your schedule and your personal habits. Don’t become frustrated if you don’t see immediate results.


How to Get a Kidney Transplant Quickly

ID-100137844One common reason why people call us for an air ambulance is they are traveling to receive a kidney transplant, or returning home, or both. Either way we are very familiar with the struggle and frustration that many people go through waiting for a kidney transplant. However there are steps that you can take to speed up the process. Being informed about your options and knowing what to do will give you an advantage over others in this often difficult waiting game.

The first step is to get on the donor list as soon as possible. Have a doctor’s referral ready to go and start to research the over-200 donor hospitals for the best one in your area. It can take up to 10 days for approval so moving as quickly as possible will help cut down on extra waiting time. Some transplant programs accept multiple listings so you may be able to register at additional transplant centers. You can also transfer your name to another center if you move or have a change in health insurance.

Do a lot of research to find the shortest wait times. There are several websites that are dedicated to researching the shortest wait times based on location. It is estimated by the National Kidney Foundation that there are over 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant, however an average of just 17,000 operations are performed each year. By knowing what areas have shorter waiting times, you can make sure you are registered in the right area. If you are flexible and can travel it will help improve your chances of finding a donor faster.

There was a study done to find the shortest wait times. The study, by the American Journal of Transplantation found the longest wait times were in the Southeast while the shortest waiting times were in the New England area. Factors like the amount of transplant centers and workers factor into the wait times. Patients health insurance (or lack of) plus the amount of for-profit Dialysis centers also contributed to wait times.

You should also avoid tempting, but threatening measures to speed up the process. It is illegal in the United States to pay someone for a kidney donation. It is not illegal in some other countries, however, and many people see this as an opportunity to beat the system. But you could be putting yourself in serious danger. A recent study found that over half (52%) of people that traveled overseas for a transplant came home with some kind of infection. 30% of those people also had the kidney rejected (compared to just 12% in the United States). Organ trafficking is also a dangerous world-wide problem.

Of course the fastest method to receive a kidney is to have a family member donate a kidney. The procedure is very safe for both the donor and recipient and will cut your wait time down to next to zero. You can ask your family physician if anyone in your family is a match and find out if he or she will be willing to donate to you.


Learn the Heimlich Maneuver

heimlichIt can be a scary situation if a loved one starts to choke on something and you don’t know what to do. Learning the Heimlich maneuver may one day save someone’s life. The Heimlich maneuver was developed by Dr. Henry Heimlich in 1974 and since then it has been used to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries all over the globe.

First, a little background: Prior to the Heimlich maneuver back slaps were the most common way to assist someone choking. A study done by Yale in the early 1980s found this was ineffective. However, later studies found that Heimlich may have had something to do with forcing the maneuver, or abdominal thrusts on the public. Whatever side of history you’re on, there is no doubt about the effectiveness of the Heimlich maneuver.

So what is the proper method for assisting a choking victim? First, find out if the person is choking or not. A choking victim will not be able to speak or breathe. Look for other common signs like grasping the throat with his or her hands, noisy breathing or a blue color to the lips and/or fingernails due to lack of oxygen.

Approach the victim and be calm and reassuring. Make sure they know you are there to help them. They will be panicked to begin with, so your calming presence is necessary to help calm them down. Call for help only after you have helped the victim. Unless you are in a public place, then instruct someone else to call 9-1-1.

If the choking victim isn’t standing already, place them in a standing position. If the person is heavy and you can’t lift you can perform the maneuver in a sitting position. Just make sure that you have enough room. When in a standing position make sure you are directly behind the victim. Stand with your legs spread like a camera tripod. This will help you act as a stable source if the person should pass out and collapse due to lack of oxygen.

Once you are in position reach your arms around the victim’s waist. Place your first, with the thumb side in, just above the belly button. Then, grab the fist tightly with your other hand. Pull your fist quickly upward and inward to increase airway pressure. This will force the object from the windpipe.

If the person can’t stand you should lay them on his or her back (if they aren’t in that position already) and straddle the person facing the head. Grasp your fist in the manner described above. Push the grasped fist upward and inward similar to the standing position maneuver.

It’s very likely that you will have to repeat the process several times before the object is discharged. The American Red Cross recommends that you alternate between the maneuver and back blows five times each. The American Heart Association, however, does not recommend back blows. Some experts believe that back blows can further trap the object but the debate about that maneuver rages on. What’s most important is the Heimlich, so if that is the only procedure you are familiar with, use that alone and you may very well save someone’s life!


Air Ambulance Company Publishes Travel App

air-ambulanceTravel Care Air is excited to announce the launch of our mobile app, now available for free for all Android users. The app, designed to help frequent travelers, will also be available for Apple products later this summer.

The app has three main components that will be useful for travelers. The app includes the ability to track GPS locations, travel alerts from the US Department of State and up to date airport delay information.

“We’re excited to provide useful information for travelers in our new app,” Travel Care Owner Ron Schaberg said. “We know, based on the calls we get from travelers who need an air ambulance that the information available in our app will be extremely useful in one way or another. We wanted to provide something simple and something that people can find value in during their travels.”

The GPS tracker is especially important for travelers who are visiting remote areas. GPS can be used in situations where a hiker becomes injured or if someone is lost in a foreign country. Data or internet connections are required for GPS, however the app should still function if roaming.

Another useful tool is the up to date information on any airport in the United States. With an airport code a user can find out if there are any delays at the airport, the average length of delay, and what the weather is like. With this app, travelers can plan ahead of time and know what to expect before leaving on a long flight, reducing the risk of missing a flight.

The app also provides the most up to date travel alerts from the Department of State. Users can have one click access to any health, political or weather issues in every country around the world. Users can also have one click access to the mobile website for Flight Tracker, giving users information on specific flights.

The app also includes easy clicks to reach Travel Care. “If a traveler has an accident or health emergency, this mobile app will provide one click access to our mobile website and phone number to reach our air ambulance services,” Schaberg said. Travel Care’s mobile website also includes additional travel information, like news, weather and booking options for flights and hotels.

Travel Care is one of the few air ambulance companies with its own mobile app. Just one other air ambulance company in the world has a mobile app, with similar features. Travel Care develop this app over several months after studying what our clients needed the most when traveling. The features in the app were created based on stories from people that have been served by Travel Care’s international air ambulance services over the past 18 months.

The app is currently available only in the Google Play store for Android users. The app will be available in the iTunes store later this summer. The app is free to download and works on several thousand devices.


Air Ambulance Cost Transparency

air-ambulanceA recent article in the New York Times raises certain questions about the air ambulance industry. The article notes how helpful an air ambulance can be in the time of crisis while focusing on the costs associated with the service. Unfortunately the article really only focuses on one particular company and uses their examples to blanket the entire air ambulance industry in a negative light.

The article in the New York Times focused mainly on helicopter air ambulance, which have seen a rise in numbers over the last two decades. But that doesn’t stop the reporter from painting some services as the industry standards. Since we started our air ambulance in the early 1980’s we have seen first hand the tremendous growth of the industry.

But as the industry has grown, payments by insurance companies have declined. Most of the reputable air ambulance companies are hoping for additional help from Congress. The Times article points to legislation being discussed that would increase Medicare payments for air ambulance services.

The reality of the air ambulance industry is most companies, including Travel Care, do not operate in the manner discussed in the Times article. When you research an air ambulance company, it can be overwhelming. There are so many options available that the search can seem never-ending. On the opposite side, you may be in an area that may seem like it is only served by one company. Our advice? Take the time if it’s available to research. Use the information in the Times article to learn to ask the right questions.

A reputable air ambulance company will be up front about costs. Get a clear idea on a quote. There are always circumstances that may affect your rate. Ask what may alter the costs beyond the quote. Just like any other health care industry, costs vary greatly depending on your needs, location, health and various circumstances. But a good company will give you a quote you can rely on.

You should also find out if you are talking to a real air ambulance company or a broker or private insurance company. Many of these companies have websites that look and feel like a real air ambulance website, however they are essentially middle-men who tack on additional costs.

Another important step is to ask is about payment options. Is part of the air ambulance costs covered by insurance already? If not what payment plans are available? A good air ambulance company will work to provide the flight at the lowest costs and give you clear plans for repayment. In the case of the people interviewed in the Times article, they were in emergency situations and did not have a lot of say.

In times of crisis it’s important to remain calm and not let anyone push anything on you that you don’t want. You can refuse a service if you don’t think it’s right for you. No one should force an air ambulance on anyone that doesn’t feel like they need it, especially if it makes sense to use ground transport in non-life threatening situations.


Helping patients get there with care for over 30 years