Question answer. Travel first aid. Part 2


I often get con­sti­pat­ed when I fly. How can I pre­vent this?

Answer: Fly­ing is not only severe­ly dehy­drat­ing, but also upsets the nor­mal bal­ance of gut bac­te­ria. That’s why it’s impor­tant to drink plen­ty of water when you’re fly­ing, even if it means you end up pee­ing a lot. I rec­om­mend a glass of water every hour and strong­ly cau­tion against drink­ing alco­hol, which will sim­ply increase the dehy­dra­tion to which you are already sub­ject. I also take fruit with me when I trav­el. Fruits con­tain a lot of water and oth­er nutri­ents, thus mak­ing them a healthy alter­na­tive to the usu­al­ly fan­cy air­line meals.

Help your­self with 3 g of vit­a­min C on the day of trav­el and the day after. When you land, take half a tea­spoon of a pro­bi­ot­ic sup­ple­ment (Aci­dophilus and Bifidus bac­te­ria) and make sure you eat plen­ty of water-rich foods. This means more fruits and veg­eta­bles (bear­ing in mind local hygiene — you may want to favor fruit in the skin) and drink­ing enough water. Also do some phys­i­cal exer­cise. Sit­ting dur­ing the day itself caus­es con­sti­pa­tion.

Q: What is the best way to pre­vent and treat diar­rhea while on vaca­tion?

Answer: If you are leav­ing for an exot­ic des­ti­na­tion, start tak­ing a good pro­bi­ot­ic sup­ple­ment con­tain­ing Lac­to­bacil­lus aci­dophilus and Bifi­dobac­teri­um bifidum a week before depar­ture and con­tin­ue when you arrive. Bring along sup­ple­ments that don’t need to be refrig­er­at­ed. Sup­ple­ments help cre­ate ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria in the gut while reduc­ing the chances of bad ones act­ing.

If you do get diar­rhea, take grape­fruit seed extract, 15 drops three times a day, and drink plen­ty of water or dilut­ed fruit juice. Do not eat for 24 hours, then start with fried rice and grat­ed apple, which con­tains pectin, which acts as an astrin­gent. Take pro­bi­otics for two weeks after you get home. Com­bin­ing the sup­ple­ment with glu­t­a­mine pow­der speeds up recov­ery. I rec­om­mend tak­ing half a tea­spoon of a pro­bi­ot­ic pow­der con­tain­ing Aci­dophilus and Bifidum with a full tea­spoon (5 g) of glu­t­a­mine pow­der dis­solved in water between meals.

Vit­a­min A is essen­tial for strength­en­ing cell mem­branes through­out the body, includ­ing the intestines. The rich­est source of the vit­a­min is meat, although it, along with unpeeled veg­eta­bles and fruits, is the most like­ly source of hol­i­day diar­rhea, so eat it spar­ing­ly or avoid it alto­geth­er. If you are on a large­ly veg­e­tar­i­an diet, I would sug­gest adding 2250 micro­grams (7500 IU) of vit­a­min A per day, prefer­ably as part of a mul­ti­vi­t­a­min. Essen­tial fats are also crit­i­cal for cell repair. You can get them from seeds and oily fish, but if they don’t store well, it’s best to take sup­ple­ments with you.

Ques­tion: What is the best way to recov­er quick­ly from a long-haul flight?

Answer: Dur­ing a long-haul flight, your bio­log­i­cal clock actu­al­ly gets out of sync with the Earth clock. Tak­ing mela­tonin can be very help­ful but should be used with cau­tion.

Adding too much mela­tonin can have unwant­ed side effects such as diar­rhea, con­sti­pa­tion, nau­sea, dizzi­ness, decreased libido, headaches, depres­sion, and night­mares. How­ev­er, none of these symp­toms have been not­ed with short-term use.

The best way to get your­self back in bal­ance is to start with 1mg of mela­tonin for every hour of time dif­fer­ence before you go to bed at the new time. Take this dose on the first night, then halve it every night there­after. So, if you are fly­ing from Lon­don to Los Ange­les, which is eight hours apart, you should take 8mg of mela­tonin on the first night, then half (4mg) the next night, 2mg on the third night, then 1mg, then you stop.

Sec­ond­ly, I would trav­el armed with a seda­tive aerosol, which is sold in large phar­ma­cies. Spray it into each nos­tril once, ven­ti­late the nose, then spray again. Do this every hour or so. This will not only clear your sinus­es but also keep them moist. Try to drink plen­ty of water dur­ing the flight — at least a glass an hour.

Anoth­er valu­able method is to buy a face mask. These are avail­able from the Avi­a­tion Insti­tute of Health and not only min­i­mize the risk of infec­tion, but also puri­fy the air you breathe. Also try to get a seat in the front of the cab­in: the air cir­cu­lates through the cab­in from the front to the back.

Final­ly, after plant­i­ng, increase your vit­a­min C intake and eat foods with gar­lic and spices to clear your nasal pas­sages and boost your immune sys­tem. Wasabi (Japan­ese horse­rad­ish paste) is excel­lent for this.

Ques­tion answer. Trav­el first aid. Part 1

Source: Adapt­ed from 500 Health and Nutri­tion Ques­tions and Answers

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