Travel and HEAL

Stacked Stones

Imagine yourself lounging on a white beach, sipping an iced beverage and full from the delicious lunch at the local hot spot…but then your stomach begins to gurgle, you notice once un-tanned skin prickling in the heat and you feel the relaxation slip quickly away as you realize it might be a trip to the doctor instead of the pool!

Now it’s time to dip into your travel remedies that can effectively treat your condition and save your vacation.

Jet Lag-

Switching time zones can wreck havoc on our circadian rhythm, which is our biological clock that tells us when it is time to sleep and wake.  Using simple techniques can lesson and possibly prevent jet lag allowing you to feel great upon arriving at your destination.

  • Maintain good sleeping habits prior to your trip; prepare by going to bed earlier for a few nights if traveling east or staying up later if traveling west.
  • Drink plenty of water on the flight while avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
  • Melatonin- an over the counter hormone may decrease jet lag and improve sleep quality.  Directions:  While in flight, take 3-5 milligrams at the time at which it would be appropriate to sleep at your destination.  Once at your destination, take melatonin 1 hour before bedtime for 2 days to reset your circadian rhythm.

Skin health-

Whether you are touring a new city or laying on the beach your skin may be exposed to damaging UV rays.  Even though you are vacation, wrinkles can and will still form so continue to take care of your skin!

  • Make sure to bring a travel sized full spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen to apply daily.  If your skin is prone to acne, look for an oil free zinc oxide sunscreen as zinc is bactericidal and can help prevent a breakout.
  • Sun exposure can cause increased free radicals in your skin.  A serum rich in antioxidants can squelch oxidative damage and promote healthy and glowing skin for those vacation photos.
  • Prolonged sun exposure or forgotten sunscreen = sunburn.  Apply a cooling aloe vera gel or a filaggrin/ceramide rich lotion such as Cetaphil RestoradermTM which may be found at any US drug store.

Digestive health-

Foreign travel introduces us to new flavors, cultures and experiences.  It also introduces new viruses, bacteria and parasites!  The first way to combat this potential vacation downfall is to optimize our natural defenses throughout the trip and quick action at the first sign of gastrointestinal distress.

– Natural defenses:

  • Stomach acid is the primary defense mechanism against potential pathogens entering our system through water or food contamination.  To encourage appropriate stomach acid production supplement with Betaine HCl or sip ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar with 2 oz bottled water 15 minutes prior to food consumption.
  • Take digestive enzymes with all large meals to promote healthy digestion and relieve symptoms of gas or bloating.
  • Anti-parasitic garlic can be consumed as much as possible to prevent any unwanted guests in your digestive tract.  Eat one clove of raw garlic or supplement aged garlic capsules daily.

– Traveler’s diarrhea:

  • At the first sign of loose stools take action with activated charcoal!  Activated charcoal capsules help bind and flush toxins produced by bacterial food poisoning.  Take 2-4 capsules with 8 oz bottled water three times a day for three days.
  • Re-Hydrate!  To make your own electrolyte drink mix 1 liter bottled water, 1 tsp salt and 8 tsp sugar and drink frequently to avoid dehydration.
  • Homeopathic Arsenicum 30 C is an excellent remedy to take at the first sign of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  Take 3 pellets under the tongue three times a day throughout the illness for symptom relief and faster resolution of illness.  This remedy can be found at most health food vitamin departments.
  • Re-populate with probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria, lactobacillus and saccharomyces, which help fight pathogenic bacterial and fungal overgrowth.  Taking a daily dose of probiotics in a supplement or fermented foods can decrease risk of contracting diarrhea and can relieve temporary gas and bloating.


Depending on how rural your adventures take you determine your emergency preparation packing.  However there are a few key things we should all have ready.

  • Medical condition list:  Make a list on an index card of any medical conditions, which may need special attention.  Have one side written in English and the other translated to the native language spoken.  Be sure to include a list of food allergens to show to servers or chefs if needed.
  • Medications:  Before you leave make sure you have all necessary prescriptions filled with correct labels to ensure smooth airport travel, especially any lifesaving prescriptions such as Epi-pen, Nitric oxide tablets or inhalers.

Incorporating daily preventative measures while traveling can greatly improve your health and therefore the traveling experience.  However, if you should become ill while traveling please seek medical attention. Upon return home, speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any lingering symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, change in bowel habits or indigestion.  Specialty lab testing and further treatment may be indicated.

For more information on how to live healthy naturally contact Dr. Bridget Anderson,    Naturopathic Medical Doctor at HEAL Natural Medicine.  949-476-3278 or