By Megan Schlick, ND
As the summer season kicks off, so does the most popular time to vacation. Whether you are taking a road trip, flying internationally or simply getting out in nature, you could experience some common ailments that could make your experience less than ideal. Here are some natural remedies to keep on hand during this busy travel season.
Going somewhere warm and sunny
Sun exposure on your skin for 10-15 minutes is great for vitamin D production in the body. But too long in the sun could equal regret. The key to a good sunscreen is one that blocks damaging rays, but also one that does not contain toxic ingredients. I recommend my patients use the Environmental Working Group website (www.ewg.org) to determine the safest sunscreen for their family. For sunburn relief and after any prolonged sun exposure, use soothing herbal substances such as calendula and aloe vera. I like to keep my aloe vera in the fridge – the coolness feels great on a sunburn.
Traveling out of the country
New food and questionable sanitation could lead to an upset digestive system. To prevent this, pack a bottle of a high quality, multi-strand probiotic that is manufactured in a way to not need refrigeration. Probiotics can help to prevent and treat virtually any type of diarrhea, whether caused by infection, contaminated food or water, or antibiotics.
Road trip or cruise
Ginger is the traditional natural remedy for motion sickness. It is available in a capsule, tea or chews.
Planning a high altitude adventure
Altitude sickness can ruin your vacation. Nausea, vomiting, headache and dizziness are common side effects of high altitude. Make sure you are staying very well hydrated the days leading up to your elevation increase. Keeping your electrolytes balanced is also important – coconut water is a great way to get electrolytes.
Camping or hiking outdoors
Whether you get a scratch, rash or insect bite, applying soothing ointments with ingredients such as calendula, vitamin E, tea tree oil, aloe or comfrey could help with relief. Be wary of ticks near moist high grass areas – they are bad this year!
Accidents or injuries
Arnica is often the first natural treatment of choice for any type of injury (of course not in lieu of needed medical care). Taken internally as a homeopathic remedy, it works to improve well-being and speeds healing time of sprains, strains, bruises and burns. Arnica provides additional relief when also used topically on injured areas. It is available in creams, gels or lotions (but do not apply to open wounds).
These are all natural treatments for common aches, pains and injuries we often encounter this time of year. Always be sure to call 911 in case of emergency and talk with your doctor about appropriate supplements for your health.
This weekly sponsored Community Health Update is brought to you by Shawnee Mission Medical Center.
Megan Schlick, ND, is a Prairie Village resident and accredited naturopath at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. To learn more about her practice, visit ShawneeMission.org/HolisticCare. To find a doctor or for free health information, call the ASK-A-NURSE Resource Center at 913-676-7777.