The kids are out of school and fun is calling. I think we can all agree that summer means travel, whether it’s a weekend camping trip, an exciting destination you’ve been saving for, or just a day hike on your favorite trail. I think we can also agree that nothing ruins a vacation faster than illness or injury. Montezuma’s revenge in Mexico? Sprained ankle in Disneyland? These are not the vacation memories you’ll cherish!
So, a little prevention goes a long way in your planning for vacations. While you should be sure to take a conventional first aid kit with you, I’ve put together some extra naturopathic supplies for you to add. Be sure to store your kit in a place that is out of reach of children and check the kits regularly to replace missing items and medicines that may have expired. It’s also a good idea to tape a list of emergency phone numbers to the first aid kit, for quick access. Also, keep the number for Poison Control Center handy on that list and ALWAYS call in cases of poisoning or overdosing.
Natural Medicines to include:
• Homeopathic Arnica Montana (NOT the herbal form): Use for improved healing of bruises, sprains, strains, injuries, and sore muscles. Available in sublingual pellets as 6C, 12C, or 30C and creams or ointments for topical use (never put onto open skin). Use as directed on the label.
• Chamomile tea bags: Chamomile is a gentle relaxant and carminative, so it can be used for anxiety, teething, excessive gas and colic, upset stomachs, and reflux. You can make tea for oral consumption, or use the wet tea bags as poultices or eye compresses. It is a safe herb to use for children – just use small amounts, slowly over time, if giving orally.
• Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Remedy): This is an energetic medicine for calming the mental and emotional state after any trauma, shock, or panic. It can be given to all ages and even animals. Available in liquid form and more travel friendly pastilles (lozenges). Very safe, so use as needed.
• Aloe Vera gel: An excellent herb for healing of wounds and all types of burns, including sunburns. Apply liberally and frequently to the area of concern.
• Shelf-stable (or freeze-dried) Probiotics: As beneficial bacteria for the GI tract, probiotics are useful to take daily on vacations to help prevent GI illnesses, including food poisoning. Also excellent to have during and after a course of antibiotics, should those be needed.
• Grapefruit Seed Extract: As an anti-microbial, this product can be used daily as a preventative for GI illness, or can be started if symptoms do occur. It comes in liquid or tablet form, but keep in mind that the liquid can be quite caustic in the mouth if given straight, so do NOT take it that way. The tablets are preferred and also easier for travel. Use as directed on the label.
• Activated Charcoal capsules: As a detoxifying agent activated charcoal is used primarily for food poisoning or other oral poisoning. (Please call the Poison Control Center for all cases of poisoning or overdosing.) For food poisoning in particular, these capsules can be used to decrease diarrhea, settle the stomach and decrease subsequent fluid loss. Use as directed on the bottle you purchase.
• Homeopathic Arsenicum album is also an excellent homeopathic remedy for food poisoning where there is BOTH diarrhea and vomiting. Available in travel-friendly sublingual pellets in various strengths, though 30C is preferred. Use as directed on the label.
If there is any concern over the seriousness of any illness while traveling, please consult a local physician or urgent care center. A proper diagnosis and treatment is of utmost importance in serious cases. Also, consider enrolling in a local CPR class so that you are even more equipped to handle potentially life-threatening emergencies. It is well worth the training.
Above all, enjoy those vacations!