Preparation Tips for International & Holiday Travel
Whether you’re traveling across the country or just across town this holiday season, these tips from our Naturopath, Dr. Nicole Killian, will ensure the time you spend with your loved ones is happy & healthy. Keep reading for immunity support, digestion, natural first-aid, and more
Please consult with a healthcare provider about your specific allergies, constitution, and conditions before starting a new medication, supplement, or regimen.
Obviously, exposure to new viruses and bacteria is high while traveling. Prevention is key. There are many common sense ways to avoid getting sick like washing your hands, drinking filtered water, getting good sleep (see managing jet lag), reducing stress and priming your immune system in advance.
The immune system functions well when the building block nutrients are readily available. For this reason, an immune based multivitamin is a great product to start taking ahead of travel. In addition, it is important to identify any other deficiencies such as Vitamin D, or B12, which are easily treatable. Other nutrients like zinc and Vitamin C can be helpful as a preventative measure. Herbs like elderberry have been gaining in popularity as a preventative for viral illnesses. It can be a tasty way to boost immunity.
* Multivitamin/herbal combination – A combination of basic nutrients to support immunity combines well with herbs. There are several products available on the market. It can be taken in lower doses as a preventative and in high doses if you begin to get sick.
* Vitamin D helps support healthy immunity especially if you are deficient.
* Zinc lozenges are easy to have on hand and can be a helpful boost immunity and to combat dry air.
* Vitamin C can be taken as a preventative and while sick. It can have side effects that affect digestion. Discuss proper dosing with your provider.
* Elderberry syrup is a delicious way to boost immunity particularly for viruses.
* Mushroom complexes – Chinese medicine has identified the wonders of mushrooms over the years. Taking a mushroom complex for immune support can be helpful in advance.
* If you prefer herbal treatments, there are several products that are effective and easy to carry with you while you travel. Chinese herbal formula Yu Ping Feng San is a popular choice.
* Vitality Tea is a great blend with herbs that can help the body adapt like licorice, astragalus, and ginger. This would be a great tea to drink on the plane. Usually hot water is readily available.
Digestion can be thrown out of balance by exposure to virus and bacterial, but it can also be affected by new foods, lack of sleep, or changes in flora. Establishing good digestive patterns before the trip can be helpful in maintaining that balance while travelling. Dietary changes, certain herbs and supplements can help establish good digestion before you go.
* Digestive enzymes: digestive enzymes can be helpful when you do not have full control over preparing your food, particularly if you have food allergies.
Several companies make targeted enzymes to your needs. My go to digestive enzyme is Similase by ITI.
* Ginger: Ginger tea, ginger lozenges, or just plain ginger root. Ginger is wonderful for nausea, warms the earth organs for Chinese medicine, and is anti-inflammatory.
* Digestive Tea from Root Tea and Tonic incorporates ginger and its wonderful properties with lemon and lemongrass, delicious way to support digestive health.
* Probiotics support good digestion and are helpful if you do get sick especially if you end up taking an antibiotic. I like to travel with a shelf stable (non-refrigerated variety). My choice would be Thorne
* Eating probiotic foods at your destination such as kimchi and other fermented foods can also be helpful in establish health flora.
* There is some evidence that Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) used prophylactically can prevent GI upset and traveler’s diarrhea. Discuss with your provider to see if this is right for you.
Natural First Aid
Hopefully, prevention is all you need. If you do get sick while traveling, having some natural remedies on hand can be helpful. Getting sick can happen while you travel.
* Urgent Care Tea from Root Whole Body.
* EHB from ITI is a combination of Echinacea, Hydrastis and Berberine. It is especially helpful for viral illnesses.
* Chinese remedies such as Yin Qiao San have been shown to improve symptoms of colds and flus.
* Homeopathic remedies and kits are also available.
* Have you heard of the wonders of Warming Socks? Get a handout from one of our naturopaths for a great immune boosting treatment you can do in your hotel room.
Our daily circadian rhythm is affected by schedule, light, and hormone release. Jet lag is a circadian disorder that occurs when we throw our inner clock off as we rapidly change time zones. The good news is that there are things you can do to help with adjustment. The key areas to address are schedule shift; sleep aid use, and managing light exposure.
There are apps and websites that can help you calculate a sleep shift schedule specific to you (Entrain, Jetlag Rooster). As a general rule, delaying sleep is easier than advancing sleep. Shifting more than 1 hour each day is hard on the body. Controlling exposure to light can help with more dramatic shifts.
Before the Flight
* Create a sleep shift schedule 4-5 days in advance of traveling. It can be hard to shift sleep by more than 1 hour per night in advance. Sleep will be disrupted on the day of the flight if your flight is in the morning. Use this disruption to nap at an appropriate time (night time in Thailand) on the plane. For a November 11th departure, delaying bedtime starting on November 6th and reducing your exposure to light (even if you cannot sleep) by up to two hours in the morning would be a good start.
* Uvex light control glasses can be a helpful tool here.
* Adhere to light and dark times per the sleep schedule. Melatonin can be used at appropriate times once you are in Thailand.
* Schedule an appointment for acupuncture the day before you leave to help with the time shift.
On the Flight
* Avoid caffeine and excessive stimulation the morning of the flight. It would be a little uncool, but helpful to wear light blocking glasses that morning as well.
* Maintain proper hydration on board. Water and herbal tea are best. Vitality tea from Root Tea and Tonic is a great option.
* Reset your watch once you board the plane for your destination time
If you’re joining us for #RootThailand2018, here are some specific tips to ease your journey:
* If you arrive in Bangkok in the evening (10pm), wear your light exposure glasses as much as possible until you are able to go to bed.
* Consider taking magnesium before bed or having another sleep aid available.
* Light exposure upon waking in Thailand is helpful.
* Important meeting the day after you get back? Consider having a plan in advance for getting back on schedule.
* Trouble sleeping while you are there? Herbal sleep aids can be a great back up tool. Also consider sleep hygiene including controlling light exposure from devices.
There are several natural bug repellants on the market to try. Unfortunately, there is not a natural repellant that is as effective as the chemical DEET. Natural products like Wise Woman Herbals Bug Repellant is most effective when reapplied frequently. In addition, reducing the amount of skin that is exposed can also be helpful. There are other non-topical products such as bug repellant bracelets that can also be effective.
Bonus: Skin Care for the Thai Trip from our esthetician, Rebecca MacLeod.
Herbal recovery oil is a great product for hydrating and soothing skin on a long flight. Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Mist will add extra hydration, Sunscreen is a must. We carry several brands including Eminence, Osmosis, Kari Gran, and Naturopathica. If you need help choosing products, schedule an appointment with one of our estheticians.
Wishing you & yours safe travels, delicious food, and new adventures!