Sun Safety – The Travel Pharmacist

Sun Safety

Summer’s finally here and it’s time to get outside! Family fun at the beach or lake includes lots of time out in the sun – but too much sun can be harmful down the road. In fact, during childhood a single blistering sunburn can double the risk of skin cancer later in life. But we love the sun and being outside! Thankfully, damage from the sun is completely preventable as long as we follow a few SUN SAFETY TIPS.

Both the Skin Cancer Foundation and the Sun Safety Alliance recommend wearing protective clothing and hats as a first line of defense to shield tender skin.

  • Limit outdoor activities during the harshest sun time of 10am -2pm
  • Protect the eyes by using sunglasses with 100% UV protection
  • Beware of surfaces like snow, sand, concrete, and water which can reflect the damaging rays


A sunscreen works by blocking the sun’s UV rays on the body where it’s applied. The sun naturally produces both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause skin aging, while UVB rays cause burns. Picking the right  sunscreen is important. Consider factors such as the amount of time in the water, the activity you’ll be doing, and the time of day you plan to be out in the sun.

  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB) with an SPF of at least 15
  • Apply to children older than 6 months old
  • Apply 30 minutes BEFORE going out and reapply every 2 hours
  • Reapply after swimming, sweating, or towel drying

Sun Sensitive Medications

Medicines and the sun sometimes don’t mix well. Some drugs can cause a photosensitivity reaction. The occurs when an individual taking a particular drug is exposed to sunlight and the skin reacts with a rash, intense burning, redness and swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms or your burn seems out of proportion to the amount of sun exposure, it may be a result of photosensitivity. Here are just a few medications to be aware of – but always check with your doctor or pharmacist before going out in the sun whenever a new medicine is prescribed.

  • Retin-A (tretinoin)
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Zithromax (azithromycin)


Typically, the redness and pain of a sunburn will appear in one to 20 hours after the exposure. However, the skin doesn’t have to turn red to be damaged. A more serious sunburn may present with fever, nausea, prickly sensations, and chills. Small blisters and lizard-like peeling of the skin as the burn begins to heal are also common.

  • Cool baths and cold compresses are soothing for sun-reddened skin
  • Orange juice or Vitamin C supplements help give the body extra immune support while the skin heals
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers, like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium work well to ease the pain
  • The aloe plant (or handy jar of aloe gel) is thought to work in two ways. First, the compounds in the gel limit the effects of bradykinin, a pain-producing agent in our bodies. Second, aloe stimulates skin cell growth, immune response, and regeneration of some types of nerve cells.

Happy, Healthy Travels!

More Travel Health Tips from The Travel Pharmacist HERE.

Who is The Travel Pharmacist Team?

Balance Resort – Stegerbach Austria

This 5-Star jewel situated in the hills overlooking the Austrian Stegerbach Thermal Spa is all about YOU! From the magnificent Balance Resort Infinity Pool itself to the numerous wellness spa amenities all designed to fully pamper and relax.  Located nearby is Austria’s largest golf course, to make this oasis of good health and wellness even more attractive to international travelers.


Balance Spa Treatments include unique massage rituals such as “The Knowledge of Life” from India, ALOHA – Hawaiian relaxation, and SABAI – a taste of Thailand catered to both men and women. For those who enjoy the water, it’s possible to relax against a background of sound and light in the aqua meditation room, in the laconium or in the steam bath. Other water-related activities available at the hotel include aqua fitness, aqua stretching and aqua jogging.

Resort Accommodations. The Balance Resort has 141 rooms and suites, with 18 Family Apartments and 12 Designer Suites. Room features: WC, shower and bathtub, balcony, minibar, hairdryer, satellite television, radio, direct-dial telephone, in-room safe, WLAN free of charge.


Specialty Programs

Balance Resort provides a top quality Metabolic Balance® program specially developed by the internist Dr. Wolf Funfack, together with renowned nutritionists to integrate modern, healthy nutrition in your daily diet. Based on your personal details and blood test results a personalized nutrition plan will be drawn up for you that supplies the body with all the essential nutrients.


Spa Cuisine at Balance Resort

Creativity, seasonal ingredients and regional specialties inspire the show kitchen of Restaurant Imago. Top chef Peter Jungbauer treats guests daily to a themed buffet, regional choices, as well as Mediterranean, Asian and vegetarian cuisine, complete with sumptuous desserts and fine cheeses.

Choices abound as spa clientele can decide from Balance Symphony – regional specialties, Balance Fusion – sophisticated international delicacies or Balance Vegan – dishes created without the use of any animal products.

The famous Austrian red wines of the southern Burgenland region are the inspiration for the Vinotheque, a favorite of wine lovers worldwide.

Travel Immunization Basics – The Travel Pharmacist

travel first aid kit


Travel immunizations can make or break your time spent in a foreign country. Ensuring that your body is capable of fighting off diseases you may encounter on your travels is the most important thing you can do to ensure a safe and healthy trip. Depending on where you plan to travel and what type of traveling you plan to to – you might require various vaccinations or medications to protect you from a variety of illnesses.  Whether you are heading to the tropical regions and might encounter malaria carrying mosquitoes, or if you are heading to an area where Yellow Fever is prominent, it is wise to take precautions.

The most common vaccinations when traveling abroad include:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Hepatitis
  • Tetanus
  • Malaria – typically a prophylactic pill can be taken

Many countries have vaccination requirements in order to enter the area. Be sure to check your destination for both required and suggested vaccinations. Certain times of the year have more prevalent cases of illness, as do more remote regions.

PLAN AHEAD!  A few vaccination treatments require a series of vaccinations (like the Hepatitis series).  Not only might it take several weeks/months to get a complete series of shots, many times the effectiveness of the vaccination are not immediate. Also, you don’t want to be battling any possible post-vaccination side effects while you’re traveling.  Start planning your vaccinations as soon as possible once you’ve made travel plans.

Not all insurance companies will cover your vaccinations because they are not the typical preventative medicine. Check with your carrier to see what they might cover. Some insurance will allow the shots, but they require you to pay up front and submit forms for reimbursement. Be sure to check with your doctor before making an appointment as well. It might be better to go to a travel clinic who will have all the most updated information on country requirements, actually have vaccination products in stock, and can provide you with the appropriate documentation to bring with you to verify your immunizations. Many local pharmacies are starting to integrate Travel Medicine into their stores, so this might be a good place to start.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has valuable resources for more information on vaccinations. They also provide specific destination information. Start with a list of the places you’ll be visiting and see what’s required.


Destination info:

Don’t forget to bring along proof of your vaccinations with your travel papers as some countries will not allow you to enter without the required documentation.

Happy, Healthy Travels!

Top 5 Vacation Illnesses and How to Avoid Them


Do you know the Top 5 Ailments that vacationers and travelers dread most when away from home? And even more importantly, do you know how to treat vacation illnesses when they occur? With this handy list, now you will!

*Insect Bites
*Headaches/Body Aches
*Upset Stomach/ GI issues
*Urinary Tract Infections

When traveling, you leave the familiar surroundings of home and go out to explore new and exciting venues. Unfortunately, these changes in environment can result in problems such as increased sun exposure, unfamiliar insects/allergic reactions, and drastic changes in climate that weaken our defenses. Vacationers are more prone to suffer from “vacation-itis” when their systems are hit hard by exotic or rich foods, irregular meal times, increased alcohol consumption and increased sexual activity.

Here are a few tips for taking care of these vacation illnesses before they ruin your good time away from home.

Sunburn – There is nothing more annoying than ruining your vacation by getting badly sunburned on the first day. It’s important to bring along familiar sun protection if visiting someplace where you’ll be spending lots of time in the sun. Use UVB and UVA sun protection for the lips, face and body when outside and don’t forget a hat or cool, long sleeves as extra protection. If you do get too much sun, packing a bottle of aloe vera gel with lidocaine will help reduce the pain. Put the bottle in the refrigerator or under cool water for especially quick relief.

Insect Bites – If you have a known serious allergy to insect bites, please don’t forget an extra prescription Epi-Pen just in case of emergencies. For minor insect bites or stings, bringing along an OTC antihistamine like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) will help reduce swelling and inflammation, but beware – it will make you VERY sleepy. Hydrocortisone cream is readily available in most vacation spots and can bring fast relief for itching from bites or rashes.

Headaches/Body Aches – Whether your body is hurting from an overindulgence of alcohol or overdoing it on the slopes, bringing along a pain reliever when traveling is a good idea. One of my favorites for headaches is the fast acting BC Powder which contains a pain-punching combination of aspirin and caffeine. For muscle and body aches, an anti-inflammatory product like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium will work to stop swelling commonly associated with tendon, muscle, and joint pain.

Upset Stomach/GI Issues – Nothing ruins a trip faster than an attack of traveler’s diarrhea or other intestinal upset. Foreign foods and water can wreck havoc on the body’s digestive system, so it’s always good to be prepared. One of the standards in our Travel Medicine Kit is the fast-acting anti-diarrhea medicine Imodium (loperamide). If GI issues are common when you vacation, consider the use of a probiotic like Florastor to help prevent and shorten the duration of travel-related stomach upset. It’s recommended that you take it twice a day, starting four days before, during and for four days after the trip.

Urinary Tract Infections – For women who are prone to UTIs, it’s a good idea to carry a product called Cystex. I recommend it highly because it not only dulls the pain of the UTI with an analgesic, but also has an antibacterial agent to slow the progression of the infection until you can see the doctor. It’s also considered an excellent preventative medication should you engage in certain behaviors (i.e. not staying hydrated, increased sexual activity, etc.) that make some women more prone to UTIs.

BONUS TRAVEL TIP! Avoiding Embarrassing “Jet Bloat”

If you’re flying to your vacation destination, be sure to be prepared for the “jet bloat” that always occurs at the most inopportune time. This happens when the body is forced to deal with increased gas volume due to elevation gains (the higher the altitude you fly, the more the gas in the body expands). Activated charcoal capsules, like CharcoCaps, do double duty to help absorb some of the gas volume as well as the odor.

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

Happy, Healthy Travels!

Mii Amo, Sedona Arizona – A Truly Healing Environment


Mii Amo – A Destination Spa in Sedona, Arizona

Tucked in a red-rock canyon sacred to Native Americans, Mii Amo spa provides the perfect environment and inspiration for total body healing and relaxation. Inspired by the spectacular natural setting of Boynton Canyon and incorporating design elements of indigenous stone, adobe brick, and native woods, Mii Amo brings the beauty and peace of the outdoors directly to their guests.


Specialty Treatments include WATSU, a gentle form of body work combining the elements of shiatsu massage, joint mobilization, muscle stretching and dance. Watsu hydrotherapy is performed in the warm, private, outdoor therapy pool. The deeply relaxing effects of warm salt water combine with Watsu’s movements to create an experience with therapeutic benefits and healing potential.

Mii Amo Spa provides 3, 4 or 7 night programs called Journeys for a personal plan of wellness. Whether you’re looking for general wellness, healing, relaxation or a specific learning objective, these packages will address all of your goals individually.


Spa Cuisine at Mii Amo incorporates their organic garden and exhibition style kitchen to produce health-conscious and eclectic dishes, like Ahi with grilled scallion, heart of palm and sesame brittle. Cooking demonstrations as well as The Juice Bar serving fresh smoothies and energy drinks, all bring the joy of food to the spa experience.

Fitness, wellness, stretching and yoga classes allow your body to be tested as well as thoroughly pampered. It’s even possible to schedule hikes and stargazing opportunities through the gorgeous canyon areas surrounding the spa.


Accommodations at Mii Amo are all-inclusive and offer a private patio or balcony, two-line phone, minibar, coffee maker, bathrobe and sandals, wood-paneled closets with built-ins and spa-amenity bathrooms with extra-deep soaking tubs to enhance the luxury destination spa experience. There are only 16 spa guest rooms and suites, so the intimacy and quiet of the spectacular Sedona setting can belong only to you.