June brings with it the promise (or should that be hope?) of warm summer months ahead and, if we are lucky, an escape away for a week or so.
However feeling unwell whilst away from the comforts of our home, especially when travelling abroad, can be a concern.
To make your holiday run more smoothly, it’s well worth taking a few simple precautions (beforehand and during), as well as packing a natural first-aid kit.
In general, I never go anywhere without my homeopathic kit and also my Bach Flower Rescue Remedy (I use Healing Herbs’ 5-flower Essence), which I use in any case of not feeling right, air travel, trauma etc.
Please note that in the case of serious medical conditions, such as sunstroke, serious sunburn or food poisoning, it is advisable to seek medical help as soon as possible. It is useful, however, to have a little natural knowledge yourself to help alleviate any distress whilst waiting for a doctor.
Top of the list, as always, is WATER.
When on holiday, there is a tendency to drink more alcohol and/or soft drinks, and poor old H2O gets forgotten.
Travelling is stressful (which is dehydrating), and hotter temperatures cause us to sweat more anyway, so it’s important to drink plenty of water. Adults need at least 4 pints of still water daily, more if it’s hot or when exercising more. For children, pro-rata this amount.
The colour of your urine is a good guide. It should be a pale straw colour. A darker colour indicates you need to drink more water.
It’s a good idea to carry a water bottle around with you at all times and remember to take regular sips.
Try to avoid plastic bottles, especially in the heat, as the chemicals in them may leach into the water, which you then drink. Look for one which is BPA-free.
A problem with hot weather is that it encourages bitey beasties to come out to play.
It’s a good idea to prevent bites where possible, but most insect repellents on the market contain strong chemicals, such as DEET. Personally, I avoid this like the plague, but it’s down to individual choice.
Here are a few things worth considering if you want to go down the natural route.
- A mix of essential oils – tea tree and lavender, with neem oil and a carrier such as almond oil. The only problem with this is that neem stains clothes, so you cannot wear your best summer frock at the same time! Some people swear by citronella essential oil, but I find this has the opposite effect!
- Vitamin B1 is reputed to help repel the mozzies. It works for some people, not others. I would suggest, prior to and during your holiday, a course of a good quality B-complex (with good levels of B1) and / or raw garlic to help deter insects. B1 patches are also available (I have used “Don’t Bite me”), which can be quite effective.
- In his book “Sugar Blues”, William Duffy suggests that just as sugar in the kitchen attracts ants and other insects, sugar in the bloodstream attracts mozzies, parasites and microbes. So, minimising sugar consumption (which also sadly includes a lot of fruit), can help. This can be a bit of a tall order for most people, but I have found this quite effective in the past.
Ouch – I’ve been bitten. Now what?
- Tea tree oil is a great antiseptic and I dab this on straight away. Iodine also is a good one to use (especially for real nasties), as is lavender oil.
- And let’s not forget your own urine!! A few years ago I got “zombie” bites whilst in Italy. I thought I had got rid of the itchy bumps, but for several weeks they kept rising from the dead to bother me afresh! Eventually, I tried dabbing my own urine on them several times a day and, bingo, they disappeared for good. This and tea tree oil are my absolute favourite treatments.
- Homeopathic remedies are effective. You need to choose one which best suits your picture (itchy, red, swollen, blistered etc).
Over the next few weeks, I shall look at natural approaches to food poisoning as well as sun sense.
Judith Reid is a naturopathic nutritionist and passionate about all things natural, elephants, travel and dance. Judith’s philosophy in life is very much in taking personal responsibility for one’s own health and believes that living more naturally is common sense. To read more about Judith click here
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