Top Tips for Travel Health
Getting away for a bit of summer sun is no doubt relaxing and beneficial to our health, but long haul flights, traveller's tummy and alien bacterium are all potential pitfalls that can have a detrimental effect on our health, not to mention our enjoyment of the holiday. Here are some top nutritional and natural medicine tips to ensure optimum health wherever you are travelling to this summer.
In the air
Flying means being in close proximity to a lot of people, but in face you are more likely to pick a bug up in the airport than on the airplane. Ensuring you get adequate sleep before you fly and drinking enough water and remaining hydrated throughout the flight will help your immune system stay strong and fight off any potential illness. Prior to your travel you may wish to take an immune support formula to bolster your immunity. Look for ingredients such as vitamin C, Astragalus, Garlic and Elderberry. You may also wish to consider an Omega-3 as supplemenation with this increases the activity of white blood cells that fight dangerous bacteria, preventing infection. Omega-3 also protects the lungs from respiratory tract infections, which occur in 20% of all travellers.
Off the plane and to the hotel, where you will no doubt be (over)eating and drinking all day and night. The foods can be considerably different to what we are accustomed to eating at home, and are often very rich which can overburden our digestive system. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are a great way to support your digestive system. We also might not be eating as healthily as we normally do at home, due to limited food variety or foods not quite to our taste. For this reason, you may wish to consider a multi-vitamin and mineral to ensure your body is receiving all the essential nutrients. Continuing to take your immune supporting supplement(s) and probiotics can also help prevent and treat gastrointestinal upset (traveller's diarrhoea).
Sunburn is a common issue when traveling to warmer climates. In addition to applying suncream, diet and supplements may also be beneficial in preventing and recovering from sunburn. Eating antioxidant-rich foods or taking supplements can aid the skin's resistnce to harmful UV rays and also help skin heal. Be sure to appy SPF when out in the sun for prolonged periods of time, stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when the sun's rays are at their strongest, and stay covered up wherever possible. After being out in the sun apply an aftersun product. Look for ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Calendula and Chamomile.
Many commercial insect sprays are full of harmful chemicals, such as DEET, which are best avoided. We can deter mosquitos and other insects from biting us through using body care products that contain lavender, tea tree or citronella, and eating garlic can also mask the scent that attracts mossies to take a bite!
 Camps M, Vilella A, Marcos MA, Letang E, Muñoz J, Salvado E, et al. Incidence of respiratory viruses among travelers with a febrile syndrome returning from tropical and subtropical areas. J Med Virol. 2008 Apr;80(4):711–5.