By Abby Henry, Oncology Content Manager, PearlPoint Cancer Support | July 2016
Amusement parks are a fantastic source of family fun during the summer. Maybe you are planning a special trip to Disney World? Maybe you have season passes to Six Flags? Whatever your amusement park dreams, if you are a cancer survivor, you may need to take extra caution before embarking on your adventure.
First and foremost, clear any travel and activities with your healthcare team. Be detailed. If you plan to ride roller coasters or visit a water park, let your healthcare team know. You may not be healthy enough and your immune system may be compromised. Work with your healthcare team, and do not put yourself at risk.
Once you have the go-ahead from your healthcare team, here are some tips to help make your trip to the amusement park fun and safe:
Pick the right time to go.
- Go during the morning or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Try to schedule your trip on a weekday to avoid crowds and lines.
- Purchase your tickets before you arrive so you won’t have to stand in line to buy them at the entrance to the park.
Conserve your energy.
- Check to see if the park offers options to reserve a ride time or skip the lines so you don’t have to waste precious energy standing in line.
- Watch a show or two to get some rest between activities and rides.
- Plan your day before you arrive. Which rides or attractions do you want to see the most? Make sure you see those first!
- Locate the park’s medical services station—just in case.
- Know the rules of the park and follow them! Educate yourself on the restrictions for each ride. For example, most roller coasters are not safe for people with heart conditions, high blood pressure, and women who are pregnant. Some rides may have restriction if you have an arm or leg prosthesis.
- Even if you can’t ride the big roller coasters, there are still plenty of fun things to do at amusement parks such as watching shows, playing carnival games, and trying new foods.
- If going to a water park, be sure to practice pool safety. Check out this blog to learn more about pool safety for cancer survivors.
- Stop often to drink water, sport drinks, or enjoy a flavored ice treat like a snow cone or frozen lemonade.
- If you are sweating, you are losing water more quickly than normal so be sure to re-hydrate and up your fluid intake for the day.
- Wear sunscreen and bug repellant. You need at least a shot glass full or sunscreen to cover yourself properly, and you will need to reapply thought the day. Use at least SPF30 or higher. A hat and sunglasses can help shield your face as well.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes with good arch support. Choose light-weight, moisture-wicking clothes to stay cool and dry. Look for synthetic fabrics with polyester, lycra, spandex, or a mix.
- Bring a plastic baggie to protect your phone on water rides.
- If you have any medications or medical equipment, make sure you bring it with you. Check with the park before you arrive to see if there are any restrictions on what you can bring into the park.
As a cancer survivor, you deserve a fun vacation with your family and friends. Check with your healthcare team first and make safety a priority. Enjoy your amusement park adventure and make lasting memories!