Health/Fitness » Health

Healthy Travel

by Darren Farnesi, M.D. and Bridget O’Connell, N.D.
Saturday May 19, 2012

Imagine yourself lounging on a white sand beach, sipping an iced beverage, stomach full from a delicious lunch at the local hot spot... But then your stomach
begins to gurgle, your untanned skin prickles in the heat and you wonder, "is this a fever or am I getting sunburned?" Suddenly the relaxation starts to slip away as you realize you might need a trip to the doc- tor instead of the pool.

Now it's time to dip into your travel remedies and save your vacation!


Switching time zones can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythm, which is our biological clock telling us when it's time to sleep or be awake. Some simple techniques can lessen or prevent jet lag, allowing you to feel great upon arrival.

-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 may decrease jet lag and improve sleep quality. While in flight, take 3 to 5 milligrams at the appropriate bedtime of your new destination. Once at your destination, take Melatonin one-hour before bedtime for two days to reset your rhythm.


Whether you are touring a new city or lying on the beach, your skin will be exposed to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Wrinkles and skin cancer are still a major concern; so continue to take care of your skin!

-Bring a travel-sized, full-spectrum (UVA/UVB- blocking) sunscreen to apply daily. If your skin is acne-prone, look for an oil-free zinc oxide sunscreen, as zinc is anti-bacterial 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. A healthy diet full of anti-oxidant-rich foods will help from the inside as well.

-Prolonged sun exposure or forgotten sun- screen equals sunburn. Apply a cooling aloe vera gel or a filaggrin/ceramide rich lotion such as Cetaphil Restoraderm TM, which may be found at any typical drug store. To decrease the pain and inflammation post sunburn mist your skin with a mix of white vinegar and cold water.


Foreign travel introduces us to new flavors, cultures and experiences. It also introduces new viruses, bacteria and parasites! Combat this potential downfall by optimizing your natural defenses and take quick action at the first sign of distress.


-Stomach acid is the primary defense against pathogens from water or food contamination. To encourage appropriate stomach acid production supplement with Betaine HCl or sip 1?4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with 2oz bottled water 15 minutes prior to eating.

-Take digestive enzymes with all large meals to promote healthy digestion and relieve symptoms of gas or bloating.

-Garlic is anti-parasitic and can be consumed as much as possible to prevent unwanted guests in your intestines. Eat one clove of raw garlic or supplement aged garlic capsules daily. Much higher doses - such as a whole head of raw garlic - can be used to treat a parasitic infection.


-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 two to four capsules with eight ounce bottled water three times a day for three days.

-Re-Hydrate! To make your own electrolyte drink, mix one liter bottled water with one teaspoon sea salt and drink frequently to avoid dehydration.

-Homeopathic Arsenicum 30 C, available at most vitamin stores, is an excellent remedy for the first sign of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Take three pellets under the tongue three times a day throughout the illness for symptom relief and faster resolution.

-Re-populate with probiotics: beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria, lactobacillus and saccharomyces help fight pathogenic bacterial and fungal overgrowth. Taking a daily dose of probiotics in a supplement or fermented foods can decrease the risk of contracting diarrhea.


How remote your adventures take you determines the extent of your emergency preparation. However a few key things we should all have ready:

-List of medical conditions, which may need special attention. Use an index card with one side written in English and the other in the native language of the country you are visiting. Include a list of food allergies to show to restaurants if needed.

-All prescriptions filled with correct labels for smooth airport travel, especially any life-saving prescriptions such as heart medicines, Epipen, Nitroglycerine tablets or asthma inhalers.

Incorporating daily preventative measures while traveling can greatly improve your health and therefore your travel experience. However, if you should become ill while traveling please do seek medical attention. Upon returning home, speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any lingering symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, fevers, night-sweats and changes in bowel habits or indigestion. Special lab testing and further treatment may be indicated. For more information or for a pre- or post-travel visit contact us at Medical Age Management, 619.795.6700. We wish you safe and healthy travels!

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