Sometimes it seems that I travel with a pharmacy in my luggage, especially for multiple-week trips. Being sick is no fun; it really takes enjoyment away from a long-awaited trip if you can’t participate in planned activities.Travel over several time zones, eating routines that get off-kilter, and lack of sleep on long flights or busy days can throw your immune system out of whack and make you more susceptible to illness. It’s also harder to stay healthy in airplanes, hotel rooms, and ride-shares where surfaces are exposed to various people and cleanliness may be in question.
While some frequent travelers obtain an antibiotic prescription to take with them, the problem is that many common infections, such as upper respiratory issues, are caused by viruses, not bacteria, so those pills are virtually useless and ultimately promote drug-resistant bacteria.I talked recently with Dr. Sarath Malepati, general surgeon in California who has formulated a support pack that is designed to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use while enabling the immune system to function better. Malepati’s EZC Pak works on a three-pronged approach:
Echinacea supports the immune system’s ability to clear infections by promoting T-cell activity, the cell type critical to cell-mediated immunity.Zinc is involved in virtually every aspect of the immune system’s function. Zinc is a common ingredient in ant diarrheal products and can help when unfamiliar local bacteria causes distress for your GI system.
Vitamin C is critical to a wide range of metabolic reactions in the body, including the formation of collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels, as well as the absorption of iron.EZC Pak comes in a five-day tapered dosage package for travelers to use after symptoms appear as well as a daily use pack in a lower dose for ongoing support. It is available at retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, and Amazon and through doctors’ offices.
To stay healthy on the go, Malepati also encourages good hand hygiene—wash often and avoid touching the face, nose, or mouth. Get plenty of sleep, especially when crossing through several time zones, and stay well hydrated since water is fuel for the immune system. Remember that alcoholic drinks, coffee, and sodas can act as diuretics, so try to consume water in a one-to-one ratio with these drinks.Stay healthy when you travel with a take-along EZC Pak in your bag. And, of course, it works when you're at home, too.
Photos courtesy Anderson Group PR