If you’re heading south for spring break, you’ll want to be prepared for those common health problems that can arise. Tummy troubles, stress, sunburn and jet lag can put a damper on your vacation. Don’t worry though, I have you covered. Consider the following spring break travel health essentials to keep you and your family safe and healthy:
Consuming contaminated water, food or beverages with can lead to the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea. The most common culprit is E. Coli, a bacteria present in human feces. Symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting can occur from one to three days after ingestion. To protect your digestive when travelling to foreign countries, carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you, avoid consuming tap water/ice or risky foods (undercooked meat, fresh produce) and consider a probiotic supplement. Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that help to keep the bad bugs away. Taking probiotics before and during and especially when traveling to foreign countries can help to support the proper balance of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut and prevent diarrhea. Probiotics can also help keep you regular and support the immune system. Look for a probiotic with clinically studied strains that is stable at room termperature, such as Kyo-Dophilus. If you do get traveler’s diarrhea be sure to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. Coconut water is also a good choice as it contains vital electrolytes.
Travel can be stressful – dealing with crowds, long lines, delays, and other issues. To help ease travel stress and anxiety try Relax by A.Vogel. This natural plant-based remedy that contains passionflower and lemon balm. These herbal ingredients have been shown in studies to promote relaxation and relieve stress and nervousness. It is non-habit forming and does not cause drowsiness or a hangover effect, which is common with prescription relaxants.
Getting a sunburn can be uncomfortable and really put a damper on your vacation. Sunburn is associated with increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Keep your skin protected from damaging UV rays with a broad-spectrum mineral-based sunscreen. Unlike chemical sunscreens, which are absorbed through the skin and must be applied 20 minutes before going in the sun, mineral-based sunscreens provide a physical barrier to the sun’s rays and work right away. Mineral-based sunscreen contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and they provide a safer option for your skin and the environment. My top recommendation is Green Beaver sunscreens, which block UVA/UVB, are water-resistant, and hypoallergenic. They have lotions and non-aerosol sprays with formulas for both children and adults.
Traveling by car, boat or air can cause an upset to your inner ear balance and lead to nausea, dizziness and in some cases vomiting. Over the counter drugs for motion sickness contain an ingredient called dimenhydrinate, which helps counter the nausea but can leave you feeling groggy. A natural alternative is ginger. Ginger contains active compounds that effectively work to to calm a queasy stomach and relieve nausea and it does not cause drowsiness. Look for Ginger Rescue at health food stores or online retailers. These chewable tablets come in formulas for both children and adults.
Traveling to different time zones can throw off your sleep cycles and make it hard to get a good night sleep. This is especially an issue when changing time zones by three or more hours. Consider taking a supplement of melatonin. This hormone is naturally secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and it regulates our sleep/wake cycles. Supplements can help correct imbalances created by time changes and promote a more restful night sleep.