5 tips to stay healthy when you travel

5 tips to stay healthy when you travel
PHOTO: Shutterstock.com

Here are tips to nix the five most common issues travellers might face.

Winter Itch

If you constantly suffer from irritated and dry skin in chilly climes, Dr Robyn Gmyrek, a US-based dermatologist offers the following advice: take lukewarm, not hot, showers, but if that seems unbearable after a long day in the freezing cold, keep bath times short, and limit the amount of soap used.

You might also want to swap tropical-weather moisturisers with petroleum-jelly instead. It might seem odd to apply this all over your body and face, but it'll greatly improve your comfort and hydration levels in a snap.

How to to keep eczema under control

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    Many aren't aware of how important it is to apply a body moisturizer, and the best time to do this is right after a shower when your skin is still damp.

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    Pat your skin dry after your shower instead of rubbing your skin vigorously with a towel, as rubbing could inflame your pores and hair follicles.

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    Apply your moisturizer right after. It is best to get a daily moisturiser that has no preservatives and is hypoallergenic for your skin type.

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    Make it a ritual to drink lukewarm water. The rule of drinking at least eight glasses of water daily has many health benefits, of which one is for healthy skin.

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    Daily consumption of water keeps your skin cells rejuvenated and also aids in flushing out all the toxins from the body.

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    To make drinking water more fun, you can add in lemon slices, berries or any other fruit to make flavour-infused water.

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    Do not scratch the affected skin. The temptation is great to relieve the itch with a good scratch but this will just aggravate the condition further.

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    The skin tends to get very itchy when it loses its moisture and natural oils, so remedying that will make the itch subside.

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    Applying cold aloe vera gel helps to soothe the inflamed skin immediately.

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    Dermatologists have agreed that the air from air-conditioners is extremely drying for the skin.

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    If you can, avoid staying and sleeping in air-conditioned rooms. If it can't be helped, then add some moisture to the air by placing a humidifier in the room.

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    If your skin is already dry and beginning to worsen. using harsh soap will only deteriorate your condition.

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    Soap tends to wash away the residual moisture from your skin, making it dry and itchy. Use mild shower foam that has a pH level of 5.5 preferably and nothing lower than pH 4. You can also opt for special facial cleansers that are mild and designed especially for individuals with dry skin.

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    Yes, bathing too often is not good. Hitting the shower more than 2x a day increases the chance of drying out your skin. Keep in mind that you shouldn't take hot showers (lukewarm water is fine) and keep your showers to under 15 minutes.

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    Long hot showers will only remove the natural oils of your skin; and if your fingers and toes start to get wrinkly then you've definitely been in the shower way too long.

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    Apply steroidal cream on your affected skin to relieve itch and inflamed skin but do not use it long-term.

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    It is important to take medicines correctly as prescribed and, do not misuse the OTC cream. If your symptoms do not heal, please consult a doctor immediately.

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    Some people are triggered by food allergens, dust mites, temperature, soaps or detergents and also clothing. Recognising your trigger factors can minimise flare-ups.

Heat Exhaustion

Coming from somewhere sunny, it's easy to let our guard down with this dangerous condition that might cause nausea, dizziness, cramps and fainting.

Be sure to drink lots of fluids (not alcoholic or caffeinated beverages which might dehydrate you), wear a wide-brim hat, and apply sunblock regularly.

Avoid getting sunburnt at all cost, as it could reduce your body's natural ability to shed heat, shares a Mayo Clinic report.

Cold and Flu

If you're prone to these conditions before or during trips, up your intake of soluble fibre to boost immunity, reports a study from the University of Illinois in the US.

Good sources include apples, oats, and nuts. Already down with symptoms?

Both Vitamin C and elderberry extract (available as a supplement) have been proven to reduce the severity and duration of each bout.

Natural remedies for cold and flu

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    The classic symptoms of a cold are a blocked nose, sneezing and a hacking cough.

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    The flu is usually caused by very contagious viruses. A person who has caught the flu is usually confined to the bed with a bad fever, severe headaches, bad cough, sore throat and body aches.

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    Eucalyptus oil has powerful medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and it is also a decongestant.

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    Inhaling steam with eucalyptus oil can offer instant relief from a blocked nose and also kill harmful microorganisms so you can heal faster.

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    5 / 16 Alternatively you also can put 10 drops in a diffuser in your bedroom before going to bed so you get a good night's sleep and also reap the healing benefits while you snooze.

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    Sea salt water is very good for internal cleansing.

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    Spraying salt water into your nose or gargling with it can loosen up mucus, helping you to get rid of it.

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    It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to alleviate the swelling of the throat and promote healing.

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    The active compound in garlic which is known as allicin has demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties.

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    You should crush or chop the garlic before consuming it so that the cells will rupture and cause the creation of allicin. It is best eaten raw.

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    Echinacea has been used for centuries in a variety of forms to prevent colds and fight respiratory infections.

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    It is best to take it at the first sign of a cold or flu. You can consume it in the form of a tea, or you also can buy them in supplement form from your local pharmacy.

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    While Vitamin C is best known as a powerful antioxidant, it is also a vitamin that is very important for the immune system. It has antiviral activity, boosting our immune system.

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    When inflammation or infection occurs such as cold or flu, our level of vitamin C drops just when your body needs it to combat the infection, which is why it only makes perfect sense that you need to increase your intake of Vitamin C when sick.

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    Take 500mg every hour, up to 3-5g per day, and ease back to your usual dose as symptoms improve.

Illnesses Caught on the Plane

After each flight, the cleaning crew does their best to sanitise the plane, but there are spots where germs can linger for days.

According to a report presented at an annual meeting for the American Society for Microbiology, staph bacteria, which can cause boils and food poisoning, lingers as long as a week on seat pockets, while tummy-turning E. coli can stay on armrests for up to four days. Wipe down these spots, or better yet, avoid touching them altogether.

Food Poisoning

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, 30 to 70 per cent of holidaymakers may experience food poisoning, making it one of the most common travel-related conditions to watch for.

The old adage "boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it" may be helpful, but going a step further, it's a good idea to bring along hand-sanitisers to get rid germs on grubby mitts, especially when there's no soap or water around.

Also, when you're ordering, avoid ice, uncooked food, dishes that have been sitting out for hours, and vendors who don't wash their hands or put on gloves after handling money.

TCM recipes to ease tummy troubles

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    Feeling sick from the indulgent food and drinks? Here are some remedies to the rescue.

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    Try these one-serving tea recipes for various digestive issues.

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    Roasted barley tea: Brew a pot of roasted barley tea with one or two teabags. Consume warm.

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    You can also add garlic to food, as garlic is known for its gas-relieving effects.

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    Hawthorn oolong tea: Brew 15g oolong tea in 200ml water. Boil 3g to 5g hawthorn in sufficient amount of water for 15 minutes. Mix both and consume warm. *Not suitable for pregnant women. Individuals with gastric problems should consume with caution.

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    Ginger and orange peel tea: Put two or three slices of fresh ginger with 10g orange peel in 200ml hot water. Consume warm.

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    Ginger and orange peel tea: Put two or three slices of fresh ginger with 10g orange peel in 200ml hot water. Consume warm.

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    Radish soup: Boil a quarter radish with 150g pork ribs with adequate amount of water.

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    Simmer soup till radish softens. Add soya sauce or salt to taste. Consume soup with white carrots.

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    Pueraria flower tea: Place 15g Pueraria flower in 200ml hot water.

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    Simmer for five to 10 minutes. Consume warm.

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