There is absolutely no time to be sick on a holiday! By taking the time to integrate these natural medical supports, you can decrease the potential of falling ill during your holidays and maximize the amount of relaxation, rejuvenation, and enjoyment in each and every day.
Reasons our health becomes unbalanced over the holidays are numerous, however a few of the most common would include:
- The adrenaline crash after overextending yourself for a long period of time, leaving you vulnerable to developing colds
- Exposure to foreign viruses or bacteria that trigger your immune system causing illness
- Lack of sleep due to jet-lag
- Possible injuries from adventurous activities
- Digestive and hormonal changes commonly affected by travel
- Over consumption and indulgence in alcohol and rich foods
…the list could continue
Continue reading to see Dr. Kate’s staples for travelling.
Healthy Nutrition on the Road:
Coconut water (Zico ® Natural or Grace coconut water are my favourites): Helps to prevent dehydration and electrolyte loss in hot climates
Greens powder/protein powder: Handy for extra nutrition while travelling and in case you miss meals. Common for breakfasts-on-the-go if you are in organized tours.
Healthy convenient snacks:
- Lara bars ®
- Almonds, walnuts and small amount of dried fruit for added sugar for immediate energy
- Fruit (with peels for sanitation)
- Veggies in ziplocs
Travelling through time zones?
Beat the jet-lag with melatonin and magnesium before bed
Motion sickness holding you back from exploring?
Ginger chews – GinGins are easy to pack, come in several flavours and kids also love them!
Cold & Flu Prevention
· Cold and Flu formulations – usually including a mixture of vitamins, minerals and herbs (to name a few, Zinc, Vitamin C, N-acetyl cysteine, Andrographis, and Echinacea)
Digestive enzymes: Take with meals to prevent digestive upset if tendency to have upset stomach when travelling
Probiotic – Take with meals to boost the immune system, prevent microbial invasion and aid in digestion. Ensure the product is heat stable for travelling convenience.
Chamomile and Peppermint tea – 1 tea bag of each steeped for 10 minutes covered and consumed 2-3 times per day should help promote a healthy bowel movement if constipated.
Triphala – an Aurevedic herb which helps to maintain consistent bowel movements and alleviate gas
An important note on diarrhea: if you experience food poisoning, there is a reason your body is experiencing diarrhea – it is trying to eliminate the bug from your system. Usually it passes within 24-48 hours. The most important consideration is keeping sufficiently hydrated and replacing electrolytes.
Heat Exhaustion – what to look out for….
- moderately high core temperature (the temperature of the body's internal organs, best measured with a rectal thermometer) of up to 39°C (102°F)
- cool, pale, clammy skin
- muscle cramps
- fatigue and weakness
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- possible fainting, but can be revived
These are the signs leading up to Heat Stroke. Be sure to pay attention to them and prevent further development.
Homemade electrolyte replacement solution
– also helpful in dehydration due to diarrhea -
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup or honey)
- Juice of a ½ lemon
- 1L water
- 1-3 tsp berry concentrate (to taste) (I like Proberry 3 ® liquid)
- Be sure the water is sterilized if questionable (boil for at least 15min)
- Add the first four ingredients to the water and stir until dissolved.
- Add berry concentrate to taste.
Natural Bug Spray Alternatives
* not recommended to be used in places where there is high likelihood of mosquito-borne disease
- Essential oils: lemon grass, cedar and citronella (mix in another oil - olive oil, etc)
- Need to reapply every 30 min
- NO DEET in kids younger than 3 years – generally best avoided (considered a neurotoxin, this age group has extremely rapid development of their neurological system)
- NOTE: avoid floral shampoos
Kids on the Go!
Arnica (homeopathic and cream) : Shown to help decrease pain, swelling and recovery time from physical trauma.
*Remember to always RICE (rest, ice, compress and elevate) as a first step.
Pulsitilla (homeopathic) : Has been shown to help alleviate painful plugged ears on the plane.
* Remember distraction techniques, suckers (to promote the swallowing action to relieve pressure), and chamomile tea to help calm the nervous system during a stimulating flight can also be implemented to help children with altitude changes.
Before you leave…
1. Leave your last day of work free – avoid using your last day of work to frantically try to finish a project which will spike your stress levels and make it more difficult to wind-down on your vacation
2. 3 week countdown – life can be so busy that we do not give ourselves time to get excited and anticipate a well deserved vacation. By taking this time to acknowledge vacation is approaching, you will exponentially appreciate your time off away from the daily grind
3. Come home a day early – allow yourself a day to unpack, regroup and relax before readjusting to everyday life. Try to avoid setting yourself up to return to the same levels of stress which you left from.
A few last notes:
* Everyone is an individual and depending on personal health history there may be other recommendations that would be more effective to alleviate certain travel-related conditions. Consulting with a naturopathic doctor for guidance is recommended and the knowledge gained can be used for many holidays to come!
*Destination of travel can also change the recommendations based on level of risk during travel
* These recommendations do not replace the need to have a basic first aid kit for when indicated. It is recommended to locate the nearest medical facility in case of an emergency and to seek medical advice if degree of illness is severe and debilitating.
By: Dr. Kate McLaird, ND