With summer in full swing now, we’re guessing you’re ready for some fun in the sun! While the fresh air, sun, and, if we’re lucky, refreshing beach breezes keep us feeling refreshed and relaxed, some aspects of travel to those sunny shores can cause a pause in the fun. New environments hold a variety of unexpected flora and fauna, and experimenting with local cuisines can play roulette with our digestive systems.
But, hey – we love to travel, too! That’s why we’ve developed a list of the most important precautions to take prior to taking off for your next exotic destination so you can get the most out of your upcoming vacations!
Taking a daily multivitamin to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need is always a good idea, but it’s even more important when you’re getting ready for a trip that includes flying and staying in various accommodations. Key vitamins and minerals to not miss: Zinc, B-complex, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3.
Hydration is critical preparation for trips as dehydration is a major risk when travelling. Since travel generally includes conditions such as humid airplanes, hot or arid climates, exaggerated energy usage (yes, even on vacation); it’s vital to ensure your hydration levels are optimized to support changes in bodily functions. When the airline attendant asks for your beverage order take it as a signal to have a glass of water and avoid those cups of coffee or glasses of wine. Don’t be shy about refills, either – if anyone understands the challenges of in-flight dehydration, it’s the cabin crew!
Travel is exciting – so exciting, in fact, that it can send your body into high gear! Think for a moment about your last vacation. How many new situations, thrilling moments, and unexpected events did you experience? During each one, your body’s coping mechanisms were in full effect, helping you experience joy, exhilaration, and stress – all heightened by brand new circumstances and surroundings. When you think about it, everything from your digestive system, to your immunity, circadian rhythm, and even your adrenal glands were on active duty the whole time you were travelling! Help your body to manage these ups and downs with natural supplements:
Adaptogens like reishi, ashwagandha, and holy basil can help fight stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Start taking your preferred adaptogen at least a week before you travel. Remember, natural supplements take time to build up in order to reach peak efficacy.
Antimicrobials are proven pathogen killers that can assist your digestive and immune systems in warding off new strains of bacteria to which your body might not be accustomed. Sometimes our best efforts to avoid foods like washed salads and raw vegetables (that may carry bacterial infections) still don’t keep us safe. In that case it’s good to know you can start early and ward off traveller’s tummy and diarrhea with antimicrobials like oil of oregano, grapefruit seed extract and colloidal silver.
Melatonin helps your body rebalance its circadian rhythm, or find homeostasis in its wake and sleep cycle. This is your best choice in the struggle against jet lag! Most melatonin supplements suggest taking a dose before going to bed in your new destination, and to continue taking it at the same time for a couple of days until you feel you’ve adapted.
Probiotics – the good bacteria! Keeping your gut flora nice and strong is of extra importance when travelling since there are many instances when you could encounter unique and novel foods and beverages. Even a seemingly innocent salad could harbour a surprise when eaten in a foreign land, since bacteria in water differ greatly around the world, as do food care standards! Help your gut to be as healthy as possible prior to and during your trip by supplementing with a great probiotic.
Ginger is world-renowned for easing nausea, stomach upset, indigestion, and even motion sickness. You may not even need over-the-counter medications to handle these illnesses when a natural supplement can be equally effective. Keep some natural ginger chews with you at all times for when those unforeseen moments strike.
First Aid Kit
A classic first aid kit is always a wise idea to pack when going away. You can purchase a travel sized one at any pharmacy or make your own. We always include:
- Adhesive bandages (multiple sizes)
- Adhesive tape
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Antiseptic wound cleanser (like alcohol or iodine pads)
- Blister pads or moleskin
- Safety pins and scissors
Contrary to widespread belief, this isn’t just a tip for hot days and barren landscapes – whether your vacation involves riding the waves or the slopes, your skin needs protection from imminent sun exposure. The reflective glare from sea and snow can make your skin more prone to burns which not only make your trip less enjoyable but it can also be dangerous in the long run. Look for natural ingredients such as zinc oxide which is a mineral used to create a physical block from the sun. Additional ingredients such as vitamin E or C are also nice ways of giving your skin a nice boost of topical antioxidants.
If you’re taking any prescription medication, please be sure to have enough for the duration of your trip, plus a couple of extra doses, in case of unanticipated travel changes. Always make sure that your prescriptions are in labelled bottles and that you also have a doctor’s note if necessary, as some medications might not be universally understood or accepted in different countries. You might also consider bringing a valid prescription for a refill of your medication, just in case – you never know!
Travel is exciting and has so many benefits from providing a well-deserved break from routine to exploring history and learning about different cultures to taking on new challenges and building new skills. We want you to get the very most out of your adventures, no matter how relaxed or extreme they might be.
If you’re travelling soon and want to review how to best prepare you and your family before heading away, please call or email us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com and book an appointment. We’re here to help you make sure you’re ready to stay healthy for all the excitement that lies ahead!
Here’s to your next adventure!
The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre