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Russell Setright




Travel sickness can affect all of us at one time or another, however, very young children (baby's) 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 the best way of experiencing a successful trip and 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. Up to 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 preventative measures that I have found successful in reducing the symptoms of 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 before and during travel can really make a difference in the prevention of motion sickness.


Ginger is used to alleviate motion sickness and its symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, vertigo and cold sweats and 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 helps the digestive system.



(Traveller’s diarrhoea)

A fear of many traveller's is having their trip spoilt by diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramps. Unfortunately, this is a common problem that awaits many intrepid traveller's. 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 and seek medical advice. A garlic tablet or fresh garlic  equivalent to 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.

Probiotic strains plus prebiotics  help restore digestive balance, maintain intestinal health, relieve symptoms of bloating, gas and flatulence, Support a normal healthy immune system and general well-being .

A Digestive Aid formula containing digestive enzymes and herbs traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to relieve digestive complaints such as bloating, indigestion and feelings of fullness and Digestive enzymes support the digestion including some “problem foods” – dairy, protein, carbohydrates and fats. Digestive Aid should be included in your traveller’s medicine chest.


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 traveller's 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.




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, fish oil and garlic may 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 Health Care 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.


DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

This is a potential problem for people sitting for long periods of time particularly during air travel, and is caused by poor venous circulation in the legs.

Tight under clothing, pregnancy, diabetes and being overweight increase the risk of DVT. Also there certain medical conditions including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, cigarette smoking, previous blood clots (thrombosis) and recent surgery increase the risk and you should consult your health care practitioner

More about deep vein thrombosis

  A thrombosis is a blood clot. The clot may block a blood vessel, causing potentially serious health effects. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the leg. A deep vein thrombosis in the thigh carries a risk of pulmonary embolism. This occurs when the clot, or thrombus, loses its attachment to the inside of the vein, leaves the leg and lodges in the pulmonary artery, the main blood vessel to the lungs. If the clot is large enough, it can completely block that artery and cause death.

The symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the leg

  • Pain on extending the foot

  • Swelling of the lower leg, ankle and foot

  • The skin is red and warm.

If you experience any of the above symptoms see your doctor.

How to reduce the incidence of DVT

  1. move around and have regular short walks even on an aircraft.

  2. don’t smoke

  3. reduce alcohol intake

  4. don’t use sleeping tablets on long flights as these can cause poor sleeping posture and reduce circulation to the legs.

  5. drink water.

  6. use support stocking if available.

  7. aspirin and fish oil can help reduce platelet aggregation (blood stickiness) and may reduce the risk of DVT. Talk to your health care professional about these before taking a long flight and if you suspect you have a DVT seek medical advise as soon as possible.

NOTICE; This article is for educational purposes only and is not medical  or treatment advice. Always talk to your healthcare practitioner/doctor about  any treatment and prevention and follow their advice

Fresh ginger rhizome with sliced and gre
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