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5 Pharmacist Endorsed Seasickness Remedies

5 Pharmacist Endorsed Seasickness Remedies

Seasickness sufferers know the drill. Another weekend invitation to go out on a friend’s boat declined. What if I get sick in front of everyone? Forget even thinking about the possibility of a family cruise – the mere mention of 7 days trapped on the waves sends chills terror down your spine. Seasickness (or the more general term of motion/travel sickness) can be debilitating to your social and travel dreams. So what can you do to ease some of the worry that comes with the very distinct possibility of getting ill while in motion?

Why Do I Get Seasickness?

First, it’s helpful to know exactly WHY your body is reacting so violently to the waves. Much can be blamed on the inner ear. This area – along with the eyes and sensory nerves – controls the body’s balance-sensing systems. When the body experiences repeated motions, like rolling on ocean swells or bumpy amusement park rides, the inner ear can’t adapt and tries to adjust to the conflicting inputs. This adjustment manifests as dizziness, cold sweats, drowsiness and uncontrollable nausea – definitely not the most fun way to spend a day on the water far from shore.

An interesting fact about seasickness is that it rarely affects infants and toddlers; and adults over the age of 50 become less susceptible to motion-related sickness as they age. But for the rest of the population, avoiding and treating the issue is a big business.

Fooling the Inner Ear

What can you do to fool the inner ear and other sensory systems?

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Trying to do close focus work, like reading or typing on a computer, often makes motion sickness feel much worse. Look up and use distractions such as music, controlled breathing or aromatherapy oils to take your mind away from the discomfort as much as possible.

For mild cases of seasickness, simply focusing on the horizon in the direction you’re traveling may be all that’s necessary. By staring straight ahead, your eyes are allowed to sense forward movement that tends to overcome the rocking and rolling side-to-side motions to which your inner ear can’t adjust. Eyes tell the inner ear and brain that this motion is okay. This also works in a moving car, which is why many who experience carsickness feel much better when they can sit in the front seat and look forward.

But what if you’re on a week-long cruise and always facing toward the horizon just isn’t something feasible? How can anyone attempt to conquer the chocolate buffet and stare toward the horizon at the same time? It can’t be done. Now is the time to pull out what works!

Pharmacist Recommended Seasickness Remedies

(OTC) is over-the-counter or available without a doctor’s prescription (RX)

SeaBand (OTC). With no side effects and drug-free, these washable and reusable soft wrist wraps are often a first-line for sufferers. Within the wrap is a hard plastic knob that is placed on the wrist directly over the Nei-Kuan (P6) point. By gently pressing the knob on the acupressure point, nausea signals to the brain are disrupted. Directions are simple…Place your middle three fingers on the inside of your wrist with the edge of the third finger on the wrist crease. The Nei-Kuan point is just under the edge of your index finger between the two central tendons. Position the button facing downward over the Nei-Kuan point and repeat on the other arm. Both bands should be worn and must be positioned correctly. SeaBands are also shown to be effective for nausea caused by chemotherapy, anesthesia, and morning sickness.

Ginger (OTC) – If conventional nausea control medications can’t be tolerated or a natural option is desired, ginger is an alternative. Available as chewing gum, candy, drinks, or tablet/capsule form – ginger has been used to treat nausea for centuries. It doesn’t work for everyone and shouldn’t be taken with blood thinners, but especially for milder cases of motion sickness, ginger can be a safe and effective treatment option.

Antihistamines (OTC) – Bonine (meclizine or cyclizine) and Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) are both familiar stand-bys in the motion sickness department. Available without a prescription, these are classified as long-acting antihistamines – the same type of medications you’ve taken for sinus stuffiness or a bad cold. Typically, these are effective if taken as directed and both have a “kid’s” dosage for the younger set to be used 1 hour before traveling or at the onset of symptoms as directed. Unfortunately, you may find drowsiness as a side effect with both of these medications.

Promethazine (RX) – This anti-nausea medicine is also known by the brand name Phenergan and will require a doctor’s prescription. Promethazine works to treat and prevent motion sickness by blocking certain natural substances in the body from the brain. It shouldn’t be used in children under the age of two and with caution in older children because of breathing issues. The normal dose is 25mg twice daily, taken 30 to 60 minutes before it’s needed and may cause you to feel sleepy and groggy.

Scopolamine (RX) – If someone is truly worried about their vacation being ruined by getting seasick, a visit to the doctor to get a prescription for scopolamine may be appropriate. Scopolamine, which is most commonly prescribed as a small patch to be placed behind one ear, should be put on at least 4 hours prior to exposure to motion and then is worn for up to 3 days. After 3 days, remove the patch and place another one behind the other ear. The short list of side effects for scopolamine may be dry mouth, drowsiness, blurry vision and sensitivity to bright light. You should avoid alcohol while wearing the patch.

Best of luck beating seasickness wherever it might try to find you!

Sea/motion-sickness products below for the whole family…

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(Pinnable image)

Happy, Healthy Travels!

Lisa Chavis, RPh ~ The Travel Pharmacist

As with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.

 

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Nutmeg – 5 Health Benefits And Tasty, Too!

Nutmeg – 5 Health Benefits And Tasty, Too!

Nutmeg? It’s for sprinkling over eggnog during the holidays, right? Yes, and so very much more!

The health benefits of nutmeg are amazing!  Spending time in Grenada – The Spice Island of the Caribbean – I’m learning just how valuable this little seed can be for our overall health. When you step off the plane in Grenada, you’re enveloped in the balmy scents of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon hanging heavy in the air. Take a deep breath to savor the aromas, treat your taste buds to a special delight, AND do your body a world of good!

Growing in a yellowish pod, nutmeg is the seed and mace is the “lacy” reddish shell found on the seed. Here on the island of Grenada, the pod is used to make nutmeg butters, jams and jellies. Mace is dried as a separate spice – a bit milder tasting than nutmeg. Inside the shell is the jewel – the nutmeg seed! Called a warming spice, nutmeg imparts a mild flavor to foods.

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nutmeg-health

Myristica fragrans is the active ingredient responsible for all the nutmeg spice health benefits. The nutmeg tree is the only tree in the world which is the source of two distinct spices – nutmeg and mace. This valuable commodity makes Grenada one of the world’s largest producers and distributors in the world.

Nutmeg Health Benefits

Pain Relief. Nutmeg contains a compound similar to menthol that acts as a counterirritant when placed directly on sore, aching muscles. For areas of chronic inflammation, applying nutmeg oil on the area can bring fast pain relief.

Acne. The powerful antibacterial and exfoliant properties of nutmeg help this spice quickly clear up acne breakouts. Simply mix a teaspoonful of freshly ground nutmeg with 1 teaspoonful of water, honey, or milk to make a paste and rub directly on the face. Leave for 5-10 minutes, then rinse off.

Anti-tumor Activity. This one really got my attention because of a recent study done in the Archives of Pharmacal Research on nutmeg health benefits. In this study, scientists identified a substance from nutmeg called meso-dihydroguaiaretic acid (DHGA) which showed significant anti-tumor properties, suggesting that nutmeg may offer additional anti-cancer benefits. This study is preliminary, but the findings suggest nutmeg warrants additional research into it’s potential against cancer.

Neurological Protection. A compound in nutmeg mace, called macelignan – part of the active ingredient Myristica fragrans – has been found to have neuroprotective activities. These compounds have been proven to reduce the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function. Recent studies highlight the importance of nutmeg health in understanding and treating complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Kidney Stones. Natural health practitioners recommend nutmeg to help soften and dissolve kidney stones. For anyone who suffers from chronic kidney stones, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add an extra pinch  of nutmeg to your coffee or tea every morning. The anti-bacterial activity of nutmeg is also a benefit when kidney stones become painful to avoid a secondary infection.

What are you waiting for? Grab a nutmeg grater, a whole nutmeg, and start shaving that delicious goodness on everything! Lattes, soups, ice cream, stews, smoothies, even scrambled eggs taste yummy with a pinch of nutmeg spice to heighten the taste sensation. The incredible nutmeg health benefits await. Enjoy!

Happy, Healthy Travels!

Lisa Chavis, RPh ~ The Travel Pharmacist

As with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.

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Keeping Your Sanity During A Long Layover

Keeping Your Sanity During A Long Layover

Keeping Your Sanity during a Long Layover

A previous article on The Travel Pharmacist discussed how to tackle jet lag and suggested ways on how you can beat the unpleasant experience of adjusting to a new time zone. But as much as traveling brings excitement and enjoyment, it also has many undesirable aspects, some of which are inevitable especially if you travel often.

Another dreaded experience for travelers is an unexpected layover that sometimes takes several hours. No matter the cause, no one likes to stay in a place for longer than they have to. It can get frustrating, and drain you of all your energy.

In case you have to experience a long delay in the middle of your flights or bus rides, learn how to keep your cool during this unexpected layover.

Have someone to talk to

The importance of venting your frustration is heavily understated, given that many people tend to just bottle up their feelings. Doing this often may have negative consequences and Psychology Today explained that holding in what needs to be let out is directly related to all sorts of health problems, whether physical, mental or emotional.

If you’re experiencing a long layover, it’s good to share your frustration by having someone to talk to. You can discuss it with your travel companions, but if you’re traveling solo, making a call to your friends and family is ideal as they can understand you better and you can update them about your situation at the same time.

But if you don’t have anyone to share your sentiments with, getting into a casual conversation with your co-passengers could be a good starting point. Afterwards, you can talk about how you’re feeling about the unexpected delay. This can go both ways and will be beneficial for everyone given that you’re all in the same situation.

Entertain yourself

In today’s world, there are virtually endless things to do to entertain yourself. The most basic is through mobile devices considering that the devices are now necessities. You can make use of digital reading materials through countless e-book apps, some of which are Bluefire and the classic Kindle, as highlighted by Tom’s Guide. Moreover, most major airports now have free Wi-Fi access, which you can use to stream your favorite programs. Whether it’s fantasy like Game of Thrones or a reality game show like Deal or No Deal, now’s a good time to catch up with all those missed episodes.

There are tons of games as well that can help you chip away at the layover time. If watching the show’s not enough, Telly Mix highlighted the quiz type game variation of Deal or No Deal which features the iconic host of the show, Noel Edmonds. Additionally, there’s a mashup of Deal or No Deal in the form of slots-bingo hybrid that is currently being hosted on gaming portal Slingo. This platform even offers players the chance to chat with friends while playing the game. However, if you’d rather be a lone wolf, there are classic single player games like the hit strategy titles Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds or the Candy Crush Saga which you can enjoy before your flight. Keeping yourself entertained will take your focus off the negative situation and make the time pass faster.

It’s not all amusement either, because as you may have read, games are proven to help reduce stress. In a study published by eMarketer, it was found that half of the smartphone users around the world turn to games as their stress reliever. So if you’re traveling, be sure to have at least one or two games downloaded on your mobile device. They’ll be extra useful in case of situations such as a long layover.

Take it as an opportunity for an unscheduled tour

Perhaps the best way to deal with an unexpected layover is to take an unscheduled tour. After all, your primary purpose is to travel so why not revel in a bit of spontaneity? Do note though that you may have to clarify first with authorities whether it is possibly to leave the airport during this time, such as if you need a visa to enter the country which you’re currently in.

That said, take the experience of a Redditor during an unplanned stop in France. The couple found a place full of model jets and vintage motorcycles which was admittedly described by the poster as one of the coolest spots they’d found on their travels.

Taking an unplanned tour may bring its surprises and the thrill of exploration, which are amongst the essences of traveling. Roadrunner elaborated how you can be ‘in the moment’ and get to enjoy raw, unprecedented excitement as you take on an unexpected trip. Just be sure to be back in time for your flight – that goes without saying.

The key takeaway from these exercises is that by combatting boredom and frustration it will help you forget about arduous layovers. And hopefully along the way you can discover something about yourself or the airport you find yourself in.

Here’s to safe and happy travels!

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5 Ways To Fight The Flu Naturally

No one ever wants to come down with a bad case of the flu. Especially, when you’re traveling. Unlike the common cold, which can be caused by over 100 different viruses, the flu is caused by one of 3 strains (Type A, B, or C) of the influenza virus. Unfortunately, a virus isn’t affected at all by antibiotics and only will respond to antivirals if given within 24-48 hours of first symptoms. So once the flu takes hold, your only choice is to wait it out, be miserable, and treat the symptoms as much as possible. And the symptoms can be very unpleasant. Here are 5 ways to fight the flu naturally.

Do I Have a Cold or the Flu?

Difference-cold-flu

Now you know all the bad stuff a case of the flu brings with it…fever, severe aches and pain that may last for several weeks, chills, and headaches. What can we do to avoid this unpleasantness altogether? When traveling, our bodies are already stressed to the max. Crowded airplanes, unsanitary taxis, and sometimes questionable hotel/hostel accommodations all greatly increase the chances that we’ll come up against one of those nasty flu viruses and not be able to fight it off. Here are a few tips on keeping healthy and avoiding the flu naturally while traveling.

5 Ways to Avoid the Flu Naturally

1. Keep it clean. Wash your hands as often as possible. Touching the nose, mouth, and eyes is one of the most common way the flu virus is spread. Hand sanitizers and antimicrobial wet wipes are great for travelers. While they aren’t as effective on viruses, a quick wipe up of your airplane seat rests, computer keyboard, pens and tray table can go a long way to prevent the spread of bacteria and some viruses.

2. Boost your body. Fight the flu with the food you eat. Traveling can be tough on the digestive system, so keeping it simple with a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is essential. The more colorful the better! Colorful foods are usually highest in immunity-strengthening antioxidants. Fruits and veggies high in important vitamin C include oranges, red/green chili peppers, fresh kale, kiwi fruit, strawberries, and papayas.

3. Get plenty of sleep. Often when traveling, our body clocks get all out of whack. Jet lag and sleep issues can quickly bring down an otherwise health immune system and set us up for the flu virus to come in. Shoot for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep if possible and your body will thank you for it. See Beat Jet Lag more tips on how to come out ahead of this pesky traveler’s affliction.

4. Walk it off. Even mild exercise for 30-60 minutes each day can give your body’s immune system an extra kick. Take a brisk walk or a long run. Not only will you be seeing your new destination through different eyes, but you’ll be giving yourself more muscle to fight the flu. Exercise also relieves stress quite effectively and we all know traveling can be a very stressful experience at times.

5. Enjoy a cuppa. What better way to put your immune system into first gear to avoid the flu than to enjoy a cup of soothing tea? Simple ingredients like fresh lemon juice, ginger and honey added to a cup of green or black tea boost the body’s resistance to flu viral invasion. Decaffeinated green teas help keep the body hydrated and flushed as well. The warmth feels so good going down!

As with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.

Happy, Healthy Travels!

Lisa Chavis, RPh ~ The Travel Pharmacist

 

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10 Great Reasons To Walk

10 Great Reasons To Walk

Getting up and moving is one of the BEST things we can do for our overall health and well-being, so let’s take a WALK! Walking is easy. You’ve been doing it a long time and are probably pretty good at it by now. It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment – just a comfortable pair of shoes. Of course you can get into “fancy” walking with your iPhone apps, Fitbit tracker, headphones, and custom-designed running shoes, but that’s not necessary. What’s important is that we’re up and away from the computer or cubicle. We’re outside (or inside if the weather is harsh) to enjoy a WALK!

Walking is an excellent exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. Walking is putting one foot in front of the other and going somewhere – and then coming back. It’s really that simple. When I find something so health-boosting, energy-producing, and disease-fighting-ly wonderful, I want to share it with you. When you learn the many reasons of just how amazing walking can be for your physical (and MENTAL) health, you’ll wonder why it took so long to start.

Here are 10 great reasons to start a walking habit –

  1. Social Interaction. Sure, it’s fun to play Candy Crush on the sofa for 12 hours every day, but studies show that people who find ways to interact socially live longer than those who become isolated. Relationships and social interactions even help protect against illness by boosting your immune system. It’s not hard. A simple nod or hello to a neighbor while you’re walking is all it takes. Who knows? They may even invite you in for cake!
  2. Get Better Sleep. Walking benefits the brain by allowing nighttime worries to diminish. According to Sleep journal, a 45-minute walk in the morning lets you get to sleep quicker and sleep more soundly than those who don’t take the time to walk. A deeper sleep comes from the brain exercise of observing a changing, interesting environment and absorbing what is going on.
  3. Leave the Worry Behind. You can’t fret about all of life’s complications while you’re taking in the scenery of a wooded park or listening to the birds. Give yourself time to escape the stress of life and just enjoy the walk. Look at the outside world with new eyes during your walk and feel the burden of worry lift from your shoulders. You’ll come back refreshed with new insights you might not even have considered before.
  4. View Life From A Different Angle. Something as simple as walking around the block or to the grocery store can change your entire perspective. Since we typically use our cars as our main mode of transportation, by walking you’ll see many things you may have failed to notice from a car. Going slower shows us how to appreciate what’s around us in a whole new way. Notice the trees, birds, and neighborhood – it’s a beautiful world out there to enjoy!
  5. Buff That Body. Forget the gym. Walking regularly will give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (butt muscles). Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist. You’ll be shocked at how quickly you’ll feel stronger and more stable just by regular walking.
  6. Stop Aching Joints. It sounds counter intuitive, I know; but walking can be the very best activity for maintaining healthy cartilage in your knees and other joints. Arthritis sufferers and those with everyday joint stiffness will see a reduction in pain and better mobility with a regular walk. Don’t believe me? Check out the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease Online Tools.
  7. Burn Calories. Walking is s great calorie torcher that’s easier on the knees than running. You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Go a bit faster to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, and while sauntering along at a brisk 4mph burns 150 calories in 30 minutes!
  8. Avoid A Heart Attack or Stroke. Keep your heart healthy by providing a regular exercise routine and you’ll see big dividends in return. It’s possible to keep a rein on high blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels (LDL) by walking 30 minutes every day. This is particularly effective when you walk right after a meal. In fact, studies show that a brisk half-hour walk can reduce the risk of stroke up to 27%!
  9. Boost Your Brain. Do you find yourself forgetting where you put your keys or sunglasses more and more often? Walking just might be your answer. In both memory and logic tests, it’s been shown that seniors who walk daily perform much better than the sedentary-by-choice. A regular walk improves academic performance in children – so the after-dinner family walk is a win-win for everyone. A bad case of writer’s block? Take a walk outdoors to reap a boost of creative juices.
  10. No More Sick Days. According to a North Carolina study, a 30 to 45 minute walk daily at a moderate pace can increase the number of immune system cells in your body. Over a period of time, this can have a profound effect on your body’s ability to fight illness and disease. To be more specific, walking at least 30 minutes a day could reduce the risk of having to take a sick day by almost 43%.

 

Let’s go for a walk today! Hope to see you out there!

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The Traveling PharmacistAs with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.

Get more great travel health tips as well as spa & wellness destinations on The Travel Pharmacist.

Learn more about the Travel Pharmacist Team – your Travel Health & Wellness Experts!

 

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