For those of us lucky enough to be able to afford a holiday this summer, here are some tips for staying healthy using natural or herbal remedies without overloading the system with synthetic chemicals and medications. You can avoid the usual pitfalls by good preparation and that involves boosting immunity and getting fit at least 2-3 weeks before departure. A good immune booster such as echinacea or Siberian ginseng should help. The latter will be good at helping you cope with stress too as we all know that travelling can be quite a shock to the nerves (especially the airport experience!).
Apart from the usual vaccinations that are necessary for the final destinations, there are the usual and common problems:
skin health (sunburn, prickly heat, allergic skin rashes)
gut problems (diarrhoea, travel sickness, nausea, vomitting)
headaches and hangovers
digestive upset and bloating
insect bites and insect stings
I always advise plenty of mineral water (not tap water as one cannot be guaranteed the level of water safety in a foreign country). Other sensible precautions include wearing a wide-brimmed hat and avoiding the midday sun wherever possible without protection (ususlly 10am-4pm depending on the climate and location of that country). Desisting in sunbathing is something that can never be legislated for but if one must..... a good sunscreen with a high enough sun protection factor (SPF) is vital. Fair skins require extra protection as this kind of skin tends to burn rather than tan. Eye protection with a good brand sunglasses with adequate polarised lenses is also necessary to protect the eyes. Pack insect repellent (lavender EO is just as good and smells much nicer than most!) as well as an OTC antihistamine cream, a good brand probiotic supplement (see my previsou post on commercial brands) and a range of teas (see below).
sunburn (aloe vera gel, chamomile cream, calendula cream)
insect bits & stings (lavender EO, citronella EO, witch hazel or plaintain cream)
diarrhoea (strong black tea or charcoal tablets)
upset stomach (peppermint oil, ginger lozengers or fennel tea)
travel sickness & nausea (ginger tablets, sweets or as a tea)
irritability and stress (chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower all as teas)
natural antihistamines (bromelain or quercitin supplements, nettle tea)
hangovers/headaches (water and plenty of it! feverfew or willow bark tablets)
general pain (willow bark tablets)
fevers (initially elderflower and/or yarrow tea or see a doctor if temperature does not fall)
It is essential that you read up on the health advice issued for travel to the country of your destination and take sensible precautions before, during and after the holiday. There is usually plenty of information provided by the Tourist Boards of each country and please take the time to read through what is provided to avoid the usual pitfalls. Have a happy holiday!