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Benisse Lester, M.D.
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Benisse Lester

by Benisse Lester, M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer of the FMCSA

Running healthy

Just as you take care of your truck, take care of your body and health. Just as preventive maintenance of your truck is less costly and more convenient in the long run than repairing parts when they fail, the same idea applies to protecting your personal wellness.

Here are some helpful tips:

Healthy eating choices - Bring nutritious food with you on the road. Avoid processed foods. Choose lots of fruits and vegetables.  Watch the ingredients - minimize salty, fatty or sugary foods. Look for high fiber content.

Get regular exercise - Aim for at least 20 minutes three times a week, more if possible.  Consult with your health care provider for what exercise level is right for you.

Health risks while traveling - This can include worsening of existing medical conditions or illness, accidents, infections, blood clots and other risks. Speak with your health care provider, be careful, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, get a flu shot and drink lots of water.

Manage Your Medications - While on the Road, don't take medications prescribed for someone else. Use caution when taking dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications - these may have pharmaceutical contents that can interfere with your other medications or medical conditions. Speak with the pharmacist or your personal health care provider.

Some common sense preventive measures that you can take to protect your health:

• Take care of routine dental and medical matters before travel.
• Bring ample prescription medicine and supplies.  Allow for breakage or loss.
• Know the chemical names of medications that you need. Carry your medications in a labeled bottle, preferably with contact information of your pharmacy.
• If you have a medical or physical condition which may require emergency care, wear identification or carry a card that specifies the condition and required medications.
• Bring contact information for your personal health care provider with you.
• Pack non-prescription drugs that you use regularly.
• Bring sunscreen, at least SPF 15.
• Bring extra eyeglasses/contact lenses and a copy of your lens prescription.
• Bring extra contact lens solutions.
• Bring mosquito repellant.
• If you become ill after traveling, consult with your personal health provider.  Be sure to tell him/her where and when you traveled.
• Always wear your safety belt and never allow yourself to be distracted or to lose your focus on safety when you're driving. 

Do it for yourself, your family, your loved ones, and your friends and coworkers. Run safe by staying healthy. 

Benisse Lester, M.D., is the Chief Medical Officer for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Previously, Dr. Lester was Director of Occupational Medicine for the Office of Health Affairs of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Chief of Medical Programs for the Federal Air Marshal Service.  Before serving in the federal government, Dr. Lester was Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Attending Surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York. She is also Senior Aviation Medical Examiner and a Medical Review Officer.