Phone: 07 4085 0054
Here are a few ideas to help keep you safe and well during your holidays.

Safer Travel for Happy, Healthy Holidays

Travelling has always brought its health challenges. Here are a few tips about how to keep well during your journey and at your destination.

During flights, we sit still for long periods of time. This causes the blood in our legs to stagnate and increases the risk of clots in our legs (deep venous thrombosis or DVTs). These clots can then travel to the lungs and be life threatening. You can prevent this happening by:

Keeping the blood thin by drinking plenty of water. Also, sorry folks, but it is best to avoid alcohol and caffeine during the flight as these causes dehydration and increase the risk of clots.

Wearing well fitting, flight compression stockings helps stop uncomfortable swelling in the ankles and prevents DVTs.

Getting up frequently keeps the blood circulating well. It also helps prevent backache and sore necks, increases energy levels and makes you feel much better.

Stretching & exercises to reduce swollen ankles and the risk of clots. Here are few exercises for you to try:

Ankle Exercise

While sitting down gently draw circles with your right ankle five ways one way and five ways the other. Repeat with the left ankle.

Foot Exercise

Slowly move your feet up and down from your toes to your heels 5 times. 

Leg Exercise

Gently bring your right knee in to your chest 5 times. Rest for a few breaths and then repeat with the left knee ( only if this is comfortable for you.)

There are more ideas for back stretches here and also for neck and shoulder stretches. Remember to do stretches as slowly as possible with ease, listening to your body to avoid injury.

Preventing & Treating Infections

Colds, the flu and, of course, COVID are caused by viruses that travel from person to person. When we spend more time inside with other people, such as when flying and in airports, we are more likely to get sick.

Our main defence against infection is a strong immune system and personal hygiene (see Five ways to boost your immunity.) For details on the current COVID advice in Queensland, you might like to review the government guidelines (or your own government's advice if you live elsewhere).

In addition there are many vitamins, minerals and medicinal plants likely to be effective in preventing and/ or treating many of the infections you might catch. Here are a few of my favourites.

As always, if you are taking medication and / or have a  serious medical condition, it is always best to check with a health professional first before taking any supplements. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C helps immune cells form and function. People who take vitamin C regularly can expect shorter colds (by 8% in adults and 14% in children) with slightly less severe symptoms. Studies have shown that athletes who take vitamin C regularly are half as likely to catch a cold as athletes who don’t. Often vitamin C is taken with zinc to reduce the length of infections and their severity.


Zinc plays many roles in the body — including several in the immune system alone. Athletes and other people who sweat a lot are at greater risk of zinc deficiency- and this can also be an issue for those of us living in the tropics, especially in the summer.

Zinc ( 75-100mg/day of zinc) can reduce the duration of a cold by two to four days. Start within twenty four hours of getting symptoms. This level of zinc shouldn't be taken for more than two weeks. If you start suffering from nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps or headaches, stop the zinc. 

Also if you easily catch colds, you could increase the amount of  zinc in your diet. Try eating foods rich in zinc every day such as pecan nuts, mushrooms, black eyed peas, eggs, kelp, meat and


Vitamin D 

Vitamin D receptors are found throughout the body and vitamin D is involved in many cellular processes, including the regulation of immune cells during infections. So it is not surprising that Vitamin D deficiency can impair immunity. People with low levels of vitamin D also seem to get sicker with COVID. 

According to a 2017 systematic review, taking vitamin D could help prevent upper respiratory tract infections and even help relieve asthma symptoms. Another way to boost vitamin D is by exposing yourself to sunshine on a daily basis for short periods of time. To protect your skin, avoiding the hottest times of day and getting burnt. 


Research has shown that supplementation with standardised Echinacea tablets, if taken before and during travel, may help prevent respiratory infections during travel involving long-haul flights.

Elder ( Sambucus nigra- European Elder)

Elder is known traditionally as 'Nature's Medicine Chest' and is a valuable remedy for flu, colds and chesty conditions being rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. The berries and flowers are the parts most used for these types of illnesses.


If you are preparing your own elder tea or tincture, be aware that there are cyanide-producing chemicals in the leaves, stems and unripe fruit which can cause symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Cooking eliminates the toxin and commercial supplements are usually safe to use. 
However elderberry preparations are best not taken by children or if pregnant or lactating as not enough safety information is available at present. 


Studies indicate that probiotics might help prevent respiratory infections by boosting immunity. 
Also, according to several studies, it appears that the regular use of acidophilus, Lactobacillus GG and / or S. boulardii can help prevent "traveller's diarrhoea", an illness caused by eating contaminated food.

More support

I hope this is helpful. If you need individual advice, please book a wellness review so we can design a comprehensive & holistic travel plan together for your needs. Also do not let the general information in this article defer you from seeking necessary medical help as needed.

Health Tips Categories:: 
Health Tips Topics:  | |

Sarah Isaacs, Naturopath

Ph (07) 4085 0054

Subscribe to Sarah's Health Tips

Special Interests

  • Naturopathy & Nutritional Medicine
  • Mindfulness and Wellbeing
  • Detoxification
  • Fatigue
  • Menopause & Menstrual issues
  • Stress
  • Thyroid & Adrenal imbalances
  • Wellness clinics
  • Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis


If you have any medical conditions, are taking prescription drugs or are feeling unwell, please consult a health care professional before taking any of the advice on this website. This advice does not replace medical treatment.
© Natural Health Focus 2020 
Back to top of page