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Top 5 Effective Natural Ways to Prevent Travel Health Risks

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Top 5 Effective Natural Ways to Prevent Travel Health Risks

Ever increasing number of people are traveling across the globe for different causes and with improvements in speed and comfort, this trend will continue to grow. More traveling expose travelers to unfamiliar environments and variety of health risks. Common health issues are including Cold and Flu, Travelers' diarrhea, Motion sickness, Jet lag, Bites and stings. Here you find tips and information on some effective natural medicines helping to prevent or reduce the severity of these travel associated health concerns to maximize your fun and efficiency while traveling.

Being surrounded by many people and being in a close proximity to each other, expose travelers to variety of harmful bugs. Research suggests that air travelers are more prone to head colds and flu. For example a published study in Journal of American Medical Association found 20% of the air travelers suffered from respiratory infection within 5-7 days of flying. Also stress, lack of sleep, traveling through multiple time zones, change in diet, consuming alcohol, and dehydration weakens the immune system and increases travelers susceptibility to sickness.

In high altitudes, the humidity of the air reduces causing dryness of mucus in the nose and throat. Mucous protects against infection by providing barrier. Dry nose and throat help viruses to establish themselves quickly.

Supporting Immune system before and during travel will help the body to better cope with germs. Double blind study shows taking elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) reduces the duration and symptoms of the cold in air travelers. After exposure to cold virus, when compared to control group those travelers who started supplementing with Elderberry extract 10 days prior and continued taking that up to 5 days during their travel, experienced shorter and significantly less severe cold symptoms.

Similarly other complementary or nutritional medicines including Vitamin C and Echinacea have been found to reduce duration and severity of cold. Some studies suggest Echinacea also play a role in preventing cold.

Upset Stomach and traveler's diarrhea is another common travel related complaint. Taking Prebiotics and probiotics elevates the number of good bacteria and out crowds the bad ones.

Species of Saccharomyces particularly S. boulardii is shown to be very effective in preventing acute gastroenteritis, enteral nutrition-related diarrhea, and traveler's diarrhea. S. boulardii is safe and well-tolerated probiotic.

Probiotics are safe and have no side effect for a healthy person, whereas taking medication when you get diarrhea can damage your gut flora even more.

Travel or motion sickness is a common travel related condition. It is often occur when people do not use the regular form of transport that they are used to. It happens when traveling by plane, boat, train, or coaches. Motion sickness is due to the fact that the brain is not adjusted to the conflicting signals that is receiving from the body regarding its balance and movements, causing nausea and dizziness.

Ginger has been used for a long time to treat and prevent motion sickness. Research suggests that Ginger extract reduces nausea related to motion sickness by preventing gastric dys-rhythmia (referred to as abnormal gastric motility demonstrated as a group of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating ). Ginger has also been found to prevent elevation of plasma vasopressin (is an anti-diuretic hormone that retains water in the body, when elevated, causes dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and sweating).

Jet lag is referred to a condition when circadian system of the body is affected. Circadian rhythm synchronizes body with time, daylight, darkness, and dictates time for eating, sleeping and adjusts hormone levels and body temperature. When body is unable to balance these rhythms, Jet lag occurs.

Jet lag often is seen when traveling through time zones, and in shift workers. Jet lags' symptoms includes sleep disturbance, lack of focus and concentration, mental fatigue, headaches, irritability, indigestion, and physical fatigue.

Taking melatonin is considered an effective way to reduce jet lag symptoms. Double blind studies suggests those travelers who took 5 mg of melatonin 3 days before traveling, during flight and 3 days after arrival , experienced less fatigue and resumed normal sleep much quicker than the control group.

Migraine is a kind of moderate to severe headache that often affects one side of the head and lasts from a few hours to 3 days. Migraine be caused by triggers such as fatigue, stress, hunger, hormonal influence, certain foods, and weather. Travelling causes more exposure to these triggers increasing the possibility of migraines.

Preventive migraine treatment is considered effective if it could reduce frequency and severity of the migraine, and infect there some natural medicines such as Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) and Magnesium shown to be effective for migraines.

Chemical compounds such as petasin and isopetasin isolated from Butterbur root are found to be effective in reducing number of migraine headache. These isolated compounds are commercially known as Petadolex. Petadolex is natural, safe and well tolerated in studies.

Several randomized controlled trials have shown that Magnesium supplementation is effective in migraine treatment, participant those who took magnesium supplement showed 40% reduction in frequency and severity of the headaches.

Stings and bites can cause skin irritation, redness, swelling and sometimes severe allergic reaction. Hot and humid places and camping sites are home to many insects which could carry many diseases. It is recommended to wear cloths to cover legs and arms , and use insect repellents. Insect repellents work by confusing and disorienting the insects so the fly away.

Natural insect repellents and some essential oils have shown to be effective against some insects. A study used 11 essential oils against 3 main types of mosquitoes such as carriers for malaria and yellow fever. Results found the most effective oils to be Cajeput (Melaleuca leucadendron), Litsea (Litsea cubeba ), and Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) by providing the protection time of 8 hours at 100% repellency against all 3 types of mosquitoes.

All natural topical creams with ingredients such as Arnica Montana, Hypericum perforatum (from St. John’s wort), Apis melifica (from the honey bee), Ledum palustre (from wild rosemary) are used for calming pain, itch, redness and inflammation of the affected area.

Travel usually involves changes in altitude, temperature and humidity, and exposure to microbes, animals and insects. The negative impact of these changes can be minimized by taking various precautions. Maintaining good habits of frequent hand washing, staying hydrated and getting adequate rest whenever possible are the key factors in preventing travel related illnesses.


Related articles:

Probiotics and their Several Health Benefits for Human

Natural Solutions to Quick Recovery from Common Cold

Surprising therapeutic and healing benefits of essential oils


Articles and products featured by Health Palace are collected from a variety of sources and are provided as a service by Health Palace. These newsletters, while of potential interest to readers, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Health Palace. Presented materials are only for information purposes and do not intent to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Selected References:

1.Beko, G.; Allen, J.G.; Weschler, C.J.; Vallarino, J.; Spengler, J.D. Impact of cabin ozone concentrations on passenger reported symptoms in commercial aircraft. PLoS ONE 2015, 10, e0128454.

2.Wilder-Smith, A.; Mustafa, F.B.; Peng, C.M.; Earnest, A.; Koh, D.; Lin, G.; Hossain, I.; MacAry, P.A. Transient immune impairment after a simulated long-haul flight. Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 2012, 83, 418–423.

3.Luna, L.K.; Panning, M.; Grywna, K.; Pfefferle, S.; Drosten, C. Spectrum of viruses and atypical bacteria in intercontinental air travelers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection. J. Infect. Dis. 2007, 195, 675–679

4.Mangili, A.; Vindenes, T.; Gendreau, M. Infectious Risks of Air Travel. Microbiol. Spectr. 2015

5.Roxas, M.; Jurenka, J. Colds and influenza: A review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations. Altern. Med. Rev. 2007, 12, 25–48.

6.Krawitz, C.; Mraheil, M.A.; Stein, M.; Imirzalioglu, C.; Domann, E.; Pleschka, S.; Hain, T. Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement. Altern. Med.2011, 11, 16.

7.Roschek, B., Jr.; Fink, R.C.; McMichael, M.D.; Li, D.; Alberte, R.S. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry 2009, 70, 1255–1261.

8.Badescu, M.; Badulescu, O.; Badescu, L.; Ciocoiu, M. Effects of Sambucus nigra and Aronia melanocarpa extracts on immune system disorders within diabetes mellitus. Pharm. Biol. 2015, 53, 533–539.

9.Jawad, M.; Schoop, R.; Suter, A.; Klein, P.; Eccles, R. Safety and Efficacy Profile of Echinacea purpurea to Prevent Common Cold Episodes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med . 2012, 2012, 841315.

10.Guo, R.; Pittler, M.H.; Ernst, E. Complementary medicine for treating or preventing influenza or influenza-like illness. Am. J. Med. 2007, 120, 923–929.

11.Johnston, C.S.; Barkyoumb, G.M.; Schumacher, S.S. Vitamin C supplementation slightly improves physical activity levels and reduces cold incidence in men with marginal vitamin C status: A randomized controlled trial. Nutrients 2014, 6, 2572–2583.

12.Karsch-Volk, M.; Barrett, B.; Linde, K. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. JAMA 2015, 313, 618–619.

13.Kollaritsch H; Kemsner P; Wiedermann G; Scheiner O (1989). "Prevention of traveler's diarrhoea. Comparison of different non-antibiotic preparations". Travel Med Int: 9–17.

14.McFarland LV (2007). "Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea". Travel Med Infect Dis. 5 (2): 97–105. PMID 17298915. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2005.10.003

15."Vasopressin" (PDF). F.A. Davis Company. 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-13.

16.Verbalis JG, Goldsmith SR, Greenberg A, Schrier RW, Sterns RH (November 2007). "Hyponatremia treatment guidelines 2007: expert panel recommendations". The American Journal of Medicine. 120 (11 Suppl 1): S1–21. PMID17981159. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2007.09.001.

17.Pringsheim T, Davenport W, Mackie G, et al. (Mar 2012). "Canadian Headache Society guideline for migraine prophylaxis". Can J Neurol Sci. 39 (2 Suppl 2): S1–59. PMID 22683887.

18.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22683887

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28.Chavasse DC, Yap HH (1997) Chemical methods for the control of vectors and pests of public health importance. Geneva, Switzerland, WHO/CTD/WHOPES/97.2.129 p

29.Curtis CF, Hill N (1988) Comparison of methods of repelling mosquitoes. Entomol Exp Appl 49:175–179

30.Das NG, Nath DR, Baruah I, Talukdar PK, Das SG (1999) Field evaluation of herbal mosquito repellents. J Commun Dis 31(4):241–245

31.Eisner T, Eisner M, Aneshansley DJ, WuC, Meinwald J (2000) Chemical defense of the mint plant, Teucrium marum (Labiatae). Chemoecology 10:211–216

32.Gupta RK, Rutledge LC (1989) Laboratory evaluation of controlled-release repellent formulations on human volunteers under three climatic regimens. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 5:52–55

33.Jantan I, Zaki ZM (1998) Development of environment-friendly insect repellents from the leaf oils of selected Malaysian plants. ASEAN Review of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, May 1998

34.Jilani G, Saxena CR, Rueda BP (1988) Repellent and growth-inhibiting effects of turmeric oil, sweetflag oil, neem oil, and margosan-O on red flour beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). J Econ Entomol 81:1226–1230

35.Peterson C, Coats J (2001) Insect repellents—past, present and future. Pesticide outlook—August 2001

36.Schreck CE, McGovern TP (1989) Repellents and other personal protection strategies against Aedes albopictus. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 5:247–252

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