Jul 30, 2015 08:59AM
by Dr. Ilana Seidel
Are you looking forward to a vacation? A small amount of preparation in advance of summer travel plans can save time and help maintain health when away from home. Once a destination is selected, take a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at CDC.gov/Travel/Destinations/List to assess vaccination needs. You may need specific vaccinations before you can be granted entry into a given country.
With that step completed, it is time to determine the mode of transportation. Plane rides are known for their low humidity and can cause dehydration, which often leads to fatigue and headaches. Therefore, water consumption is of the utmost importance. Adding a few drops of lemon oil to water will actually make you want to drink more water. Make sure to use a high quality therapeutic grade essential oil.
If embarking on a cruise, remember to bring along your fingers. The acupressure point, Nei Guan (P6 or PC6), is used to help relieve nausea and motion sickness. Nei Guan is located three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm in between the two tendons. Turn your hands over so that the palm is facing up and then massage the area between the two tendons with the fingers on your other hand for about four to five seconds using downward pressure. Nausea can also be managed by adding a couple of drops of peppermint oil to the water.
If the travel involves a change in time zones and jet lag is your foe, consider taking one to three milligrams of Melatonin the night before the trip and up to three days after landing in your new destination. Always start low and titrate up. Before going to sleep, it is helpful to massage lavender oil on the bottoms of your feet or place a few drops on your pillow to improve sleep quality. Once you are sleeping well, enjoy and explore the new surroundings.
It is important to remember that with new location comes new germs. Probiotics with a minimum of 10 billion colonies of Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus GG can support the immune system and help prevent the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea. Remember to wash fully vegetables and fruit, and to cook meat completely before consumption.
What to do when the natural elements overcome prevention? Rub one to two drops of lavender or cedarwood oil on bug bites to help alleviate itching. Placing pure lavender oil or aloe on sunburns helps heal the skin. Arnica ointment comes to the rescue after falls and bruises. Should you get a cold while traveling, try inhaling peppermint oil in order to relieve congestion.
How to maintain a positive attitude when the kids run wild, the plane is delayed, the hotel reservations fall through and miscommunications prevail? Try this experiment. Attempt to frown as much as you can while thinking a positive thought. Now smile so that your teeth are showing and think of something upsetting. Was this easy or difficult for you? Most people find this very difficult because the mind is actually unable to multitask. People will feel more positive when they smile and more negative when they frown.
So with a smile on your face and your hands holding bags, take some advice from Dr. Seuss, “You’re off to great places—today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.”
Ilana Seidel, M.D. is an integrative medicine family medicine physician currently working with AIM Health Institute and collaborating with the George Washington Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr. Seidel's approach with her patients focuses on their whole health while incorporating her background in functional medicine, Heartmath, osteopathy, Reiki and integrative medicine. Dr. Seidel speaks Hebrew fluently.