Russell Setright Naturopath
Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, Herbal Medicine, Remedial Therapies, Advanced Life Support Educator, Medical Writer, Consultant to Blackmores, accredited EMT.
Radio Talk-Back-2GB, 3AW, 4BC, 5AA, 2CC, 2BS, 2LT, 2DU Get Well with Russell
Russell on Radio 2GB every Tuesday morning with Luke Grant
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South Australia time
The information on this site is for educational purposes. Always see your healthcare practitioner for diagnosis and advice of illness or accidents.
Russell is a member of the Australasian Medical Writers Association Inc. and a consultant to professional associations and industry.
The Information on this site is not influenced by any association or company and is posted independently by Russell
SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR TRAVEL
Travel sickness affect all of us at one time or another, however, very young children are usually not affected. Travel sickness among older children is often the result of where the child is placed during travel. Have you ever tried sitting in the back seat of the car during a trip on a long and winding road? The results, even for the seasoned front seat traveller, are all to often disastrous. The reason for this is the brain's inability to understand just what is going on. The eyes and the middle ear are constantly sending conflicting messages to the brain, an example being, when reading or not looking out the window while travelling. To the eye all appears still, the seat in front is not moving and the message to the brain confirms that there is no motion. This is in direct conflict with the middle ear, which senses the centrifugal force as the car negotiates the winding road. The message to the brain here is, "I am moving". These differing and confusing messages cause nausea, vomiting and a general feeling of malaise.
Prevention of the condition is definitely the best way of experiencing a successful trip. Good eating is a must, avoid fatty greasy foods, even the thought of these can cause problems if you are tottering on the edge of nausea. Alcohol and spicy foods can also cause problems and should be avoided by those prone to travel sickness. It is important not to travel on an empty stomach. A wholesome meal the night before travel with a light breakfast on the day of travel will help prevent problems. Remember to keep the fluids up. Five litres per adult per day is needed in hot climates. This also includes the fluid obtained from solid foods such as fruit.
One of the treatments that I have found successful in preventing travel sickness is the herb ginger. Ginger is often used as a flavouring in cooking, but by taking the root or a tablet made from the root ( TRAVEL CALM GINGER) before and during travel can really make a difference in the prevention of motion sickness. Ginger does not have the harsh side-effects of some antihistamines and other travel-sickness medications. Ginger is gentle to the stomach, helps reduce flatulence, and also helps the digestive system.
Delhi belly and the dreaded Montezuma’s revenge
This fear of many travellers, having their trip spoilt by diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramps. Unfortunately, this is a common problem that awaits many intrepid travellers. Bacteria called Escherichia coli usually cause this complaint, and it is possible to fall victim to this bacteria by drinking or eating contaminated food or water. It is safer when travelling not to drink the local water if not certain that it is safe to do so. If in doubt, boil and cool the water before drinking. Be careful not to use ice blocks from the hotel fridge if the water in the area is not suitable for drinking. Empty these out and re-freeze them with boiled water.
If you fall victim to traveller’s diarrhoea then go onto a fluid only diet for 24 hours. An enteric-coated garlic tablet containing the equivalent of 2,000mg of fresh garlic will help kill the invading bacteria in the intestine. When the diarrhoea stops, the gut flora will need balancing. This is best done by eating fresh natural yogurt or by taking an acidophilus and bifidus tablet. JET LAG
This is a problem that the modern traveller suffers more from than in the past. Longer non-stop flights and the availability of rich foods and alcohol to all travellers are contributing factors. The symptoms of jet lag include irritability, tiredness and the inability to adjust to the new time zones and sleeping hours. These symptoms can have a devastating effect on the first few days of your holiday or business trip. Again, prevention is the best cure; during the flight refrain from drinking alcohol, only eat if you are hungry, and then only eat light meals. It is easy on a long trip to just eat the food as the result of boredom. Drink 6-8 glasses of water every 24 hours and try to change your sleep pattern on the plane. That means instead of watching that movie, try to rest and sleep at the times you will be sleeping when you reach the new time zone. On waking, or every hour when awake take a walk in the isle of the aircraft, and when sitting in your seat stretch all your muscles from time to time. One important exercise is to move the head slowly from side to side four times, then move your head forward and back four times. Stretch your arms over your head once and then rotate your shoulders a few times. This will relax your whole body and help maintain good circulation. Remember that the amount of oxygen in the cabin of the aircraft is less than at sea level and only around the same as on the top of Mt. Kosciusko. This increases fatigue, rest is a must.
CAUTIONS DURING LONG AIR FLIGHTS
Flying in a plane is safer than driving on the roads, however, because of the lower oxygen level, confined space and reduced air pressure, some people should take extra care when flying. If you suffer from any of the following, it is advisable to have your practitioner assess your condition before flying; angina pectoris, heart failure, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or any chronic lung disease should all be assessed before flying.
People who have a predisposition to circulation disorders, cramps and deep vein thrombosis should take special care. The exercises mentioned in "jet lag" will be beneficial. Supplementing with ginkgo, vitamin E and garlic will help improve the blood supply to the extremities. Taking a magnesium supplement in combination with ginkgo and vitamin E will help to prevent cramps. During long flights the reduced pressure will cause the feet and extremities to swell slightly. This is normal; however, it could propose problems for someone wearing a plaster cast. The swelling under the cast can cause pain and discomfort. Discuss this with your practitioner before flying.
Flying with a head cold can not only be uncomfortable but can cause damage to the eardrum. If the eustachian tube is blocked with mucus the difference in the pressure between the air in the middle ear and the cabin pressure will be difficult to equalise, causing pain, discomfort and, in some cases, damage to the eardrum. It is important to keep our body's resistance up, vitamin C and the herb echinacea will help. Vitamin C helps reduce the symptoms of the cold and the herb echinacea helps stimulate the immune system to destroy invading viruses and bacteria. To help clear the ears suck a eucalyptus and menthol lozenge during the flight and take a horseradish and garlic tablet after meals three times daily.
Pregnancy is another condition that may require special care, especially from the start of the second trimester. It is important to keep the fluids up, exercise regularly and get plenty of rest before, during and after the trip. Most airlines will not allow pregnant women to travel once they have reached their 34th week. The decreased air pressure and low oxygen is associated with premature labour.
Not only is the air rarefied in the airplane cabin, there is also has very low humidity. This leads to dehydration of the skin as well, another reason to avoid alcohol and increase the intake of water. Regularly splash your face with water and apply a moisturising lotion to your face and hands during the flight and in air-conditioned hotels. This will help prevent your skin from becoming parched and dry.
Finally remember travel is fun and just observing a few cautions and looking after yourself can enhance your enjoyment.
Travel Calm Ginger
Zingiber officinale (Ginger) root powder 400mg 2 tablets before travel
Multivitamin mineral formula 1 tablet daily
LACTOBACILLUS REUTERI Protectis™
Lactobacillus reuteri 200 million organisms Adults and children over 2 years - Chew or crush 1 tablet once a day Fish oil 1000mg 3 daily